PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 75-pound sea turtle was found dead on the south end of Manzanita beach Saturday, the Seaside Aquarium said.
Aquarium officials investigated after receiving photographs of the turtle. Tiffany Boothe from the aquarium said they could tell from the photos the turtle had been dead for quite some time before washing ashore.
The Seaside Aquarium sent people out to recover the turtle. That’s when they identified it as a loggerhead sea turtle.
“This ocean-going turtle had a whole ecosystem traveling with it. When cleaning its shell so a positive identification could be made, live gooseneck barnacles, skeleton shrimp, and even nudibranchs were found!” Boothe wrote in a press release.
Loggerhead sea turtles are a rare find on this stretch of the Oregon coast, the aquarium said. Typically, olive ridley sea turtles are the ones they find washed ashore.
Loggerhead sea turtles can be found around the world and have nine distinct populations.
In the Pacific Ocean, there are two different populations that nest exclusively in the Japanese Archipelago.
Young loggerhead sea turtles forage, develop, and mature in the East, West and Central Pacific. Some of their most productive foraging grounds are off the coast of Baja California.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the biggest threats to loggerhead sea turtles is marine debris.
“Foraging loggerheads respond similarly to the odors of prey items and biofouled plastic, the scent of which stimulates foraging behavior and contributes to turtles’ detrimental (and often fatal) interactions with marine debris,” NOAA said.
The Seaside Aquarium will perform a necropsy on the turtle to determine its cause of death.
Loggerhead sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act.