An adult male green turtle weighing more than 300 lbs. was found dead in a mangrove area of North Sound on Wednesday, 21 May. A group of kayakers spotted the turtle in a remote area and notified the Department of Environment (DoE). DoE research staff recovered the turtle and observed a deep fracture in its upper shell, characteristic of a propeller wound. According to DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal, "Turtles spend time at the surface breathing, basking in the sun, and mating. Adult male and female turtles are particularly vulnerable to boat strikes." She continued, "The turtle breeding and nesting season has now begun and will continue throughout the summer. DoE urges members of the public to exercise caution when boating: Use slow speeds when possible, and watch out for turtles at the surface." DoE staff collected samples from the turtle and transported it to the St. Matthew's University School of Veterinary Medicine where veterinarians, assisted by students, will perform a full internal examination (necropsy) and report the results to DoE.
Veterinary School Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences Samantha Shields said, "This partnership with DoE is an excellent educational opportunity for our students as well as providing information which benefits turtle conservation."
Ms Blumenthal added "We hope this unfortunate incident increases the boating public's awareness, helping us better protect and conserve Cayman's turtles." Members of the public finding dead or injured turtles are asked to call the Department of Environment's Sea Turtle Hotline at 938-NEST (938-6378).
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