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Large Loggerhead Sea Turtle Found Stranded on Texas Beach

QUINTANA, Texas – A large loggerhead sea turtle was found stranded on a Texas beach over the weekend, a once rare sight that is becoming increasingly common.

Quintana Beach County Park Supervisor Patty Brinkmeyer told KSAT the turtle was found at the park on Saturday morning.

“It is not common to see loggerheads on our local beaches,” Brinkmeyer said. “Last year we had several strandings of them though. I believe they attributed it to their food source.”

Brinkmeyer said a Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research volunteer named Michelle arrived to the park Saturday to transport the loggerhead for care at a local facility.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a record number of threatened loggerhead sea turtle strandings occurred on Texas beaches in 2022.

Last year, between April 1 and Aug. 19, at least 282 loggerheads were found stranded along Texas beaches, mostly in the Coastal Bend, between Calhoun and Kleberg counties.

“This is more than twice the average annual number of loggerhead strandings recorded from 2012 to 2021, which was 109, and annual numbers have increased during this decade,” said Donna J. Shaver Texas Coordinator of the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network.

loggerhead sea turtles, one of five known sea turtle species that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico, are listed as threatened.

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, adult loggerhead turtles can weigh 170 to 500 pounds and have a shell up to 45 inches in length.

If you find an injured, stranded, or nesting sea turtle, call 1-866-TURTLE-5.

Callers should be prepared to describe where the turtle is located, whether it appears to be dead or alive, and the size of the animal (estimated weight or length of shell – to know if it will require two or more persons to respond), according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

If possible, callers are asked to stay near the animal to help orient officials and protect the turtle from vehicles or scavengers.

“It takes a lot of coordination among trained, authorized individuals to successfully rescue stranded sea turtles,” said Mary Kay Skoruppa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sea Turtle Coordinator for Texas. “It is therefore critical that citizens report their sightings immediately, so that rescue efforts can begin quickly. Sometimes there are considerable travel distances to remote areas and other rescues may be happening at the same time, so we ask that people be patient after calling to report a stranded turtle.”

Source : Ksat