A 190 kg Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, has died at a Sea Turtle Hospital in Quincy, Massachusetts, run by the New England Aquarium, the day after being found entangled in rope on Cape Cod on 31 October 2018. The female animal had been rescued from the rope and treated for an injury to its front flipper, but did not survive the night. It was later found to have swallowed a piece of plastic 28 cm in length and 12 cm in width, which is believed to be the cause of its death.
A female Leatherback Turtle being treated for injuries on 31 October 2018. New England Aquarium.
Leatherback Turtles are more-or-less global in distribution, being found in all the world's oceans except the Arctic and Southern, though this global population is generally considered to be split into a series of subpopulations. The species is currently considered to be Vulnerable under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, as it has suffered a 40% loss in numbers over the past three generations, due to loss of breeding grounds and encounters with marine litter, particularly floating plastics, which they appear to be incapable of differentiating from Jellyfish, their main prey, and abandoned or lost fishing nets, in which they become entangled.
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.