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Endangered leatherback turtle washes ashore in Nova Scotia

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 6:32 PM - A 360-kilogram leatherback turtle has washed ashore near Islandview, Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia.

The dead turtle was spotted by Ron MacLean along the Bras d'Or lake, the CBC reports.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), this is the first recorded sighting of a leatherback turtle in the area.

"On Thursday, I was out walking on the shore in front of my place and it looked like there was a small overturned boat on the shore, in the ice. And I went to look and it was a leatherback turtle," MacLean CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton.

"When I touched it it was floating a bit, so it wasn't moving, so I knew it was dead, but it was in good condition. It didn't look like it was there that long, but that would be because, with the ice and the cold and such."

MacLean contacted the DFO, who removed the 360 kg carcass from the ice with the help of heavy machinery and wooden ramps on Tuesday.

Leatherback turtles are listed as an endangered species in Canada.

They can grow to more than two metres in length, and can weigh up to 970 kilograms. The turtles routinely migrate thousands of kilometres between nesting beaches and foraging areas, an energetically demanding feat that is fueled exclusively by a highly-specialized diet of jellyfish.

Leatherback turtles are usually found in the Caribbean this time of year.

Sources: CBC | Photo credit: Sue MacLean/Facebook

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