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Nesting loggerhead sea turtle found dead, likely hit by vehicle

Cape Hatteras National Seashore reports that at 5:30 a.m. Monday Morning, May 25, CHNS staff found a dead loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) on the beach approximately 0.10 miles south of Ramp 49 in Frisco. “It is likely that the sea turtle died from a vehicle collision,” stated the CHNS release.

Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

According to CHNS, the female sea turtle came onto the beach to lay a nest in the sand early Monday morning. “She had begun to lay eggs into a nest dug in the beach when it is believed, based on evidence found at the scene, that a motor vehicle struck and ran over the turtle,” stated the release. “Observations suggest the time of the apparent collision was one or more hours prior to 5:30 a.m., during a time where the route was closed to off road vehicle use. Intact eggs were discovered near the dead loggerhead sea turtle and are thought to be viable.”

CHNS is actively investigating this incident and is seeking information regarding a vehicle driving on the beach at Ramps 49 or 48 in Frisco between 9 p.m. on May 24 and 5:30 a.m. Monday, May 25. Anyone with information that may help determine the circumstances and events that led to the death of this sea turtle are asked to contact the Dare County Community CrimeLine or the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch (ISB).

To reach the National Park Service ISB Tip Line, call or text 888-653-0009 or go online: www.nps.gov/isb and click “Submit a Tip.”

“At this time of year, ocean-facing off road vehicle ramps are closed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for an important reason – to protect nesting sea turtles. It is very unfortunate that a vehicle appears to have disregarded the Seashore’s regulations which has resulted in this turtle death,” stated Superintendent David Hallac.

Ramp 49, along with other priority off road vehicle ramps (ramps 2, 4, 25, 27, 43, 44, 48, 49, 70, and 72), are closed to vehicles nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. All other ocean-facing off road vehicle ramps are closed to vehicles from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. CHNS visitors are reminded that sea turtles, while predominately nesting during nighttime hours, may be present on Seashore beaches at any hour of the day.

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