This past Thursday, while performing daily beach surveys, members of our research department found a critically injured adult, female Loggerhead Sea Turtle. While attempting to nest, the 200lb. female fell into a four foot hole near the water line, dug by beach goers. She was found unresponsive and transported to the Gordon and Patricia Gray Veterinary Hospital at LMC. Sadly, the turtle did not make it and passed away a few hours later. Dr. Mettee performed a necropsy and determined head trauma to be the cause of death.
The turtle was named, “Tristeza,” meaning Sadness in Spanish. Tristeza’s injuries came before she had the opportunity to nest. Her eggs were recovered during necropsy, and were buried on the beach by Kelly and Jessica from our research department.
A similar incident occurred last year just south of Jupiter Beach Park when an adult female fell into a hole upon returning to the water after nesting. Unfortunately, this turtle did not survive.
Holes on the beach pose a risk to both nesting and hatchling sea turtles. Beach goers can help save turtles and prevent accidents like this from occurring again by filling in holes on the beach and collapsing sand castles.
Sea turtle nesting season runs from March 1 through October 31. If you see a hole, please fill it in!