As marine biologists and members of the National Coast Guard Service of Costa Rica scramble to investigate the mysterious massive death of dozens of green tropical sea turtles off the Pacific coast of Guanacaste, disheartening news reports are arriving: 23 marine turtle carcasses have washed in Playa La Flor in Nicaragua, and many of them are showing inscrutable signs of concussions.
The Guancaste Conservation Area (Spanish initials: ACG) is coordinating investigative efforts with the Coast Guard, the National Animal Health Service (SENASA), WIDECAST, the National University of Costa Rica (UNA), and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA). Around 45 confirmed deaths of Chelonia mydas have been tallied, and INCOPESCA officials have interviewed fishermen who have come across moribund sea turtles off the Guanacate coast.
After a field necropsy was performed on some of the dead turtles earlier this week, technicians transported samples to laboratories in San Jose for a toxicity analysis. Investigators have also examined the carcasses for signs of mutilations by hooks, lures or fishing nets, but nothing can be deemed conclusive at this time. Marine biologists believe that these sea turtles were not near the coast at the time of their death, which means that they have been brought to the beach by the ocean currents and tides.
In Nicaragua, however, marine conservation activists are looking at the possibility of the green sea turtles having been fatally injured by a type of fishing net known as a trammel. A marine biologist mentioned that some hawksbill turtles were also found dead but were not counted among the 23 green sea turtles since they presented clear evidence of having been gutted at sea for their eggs.
Back in Costa Rica, ACG officials are particularly concerned since it was only recently that they came across some very positive findings: As reported by the Costa Rica Star, record numbers of baby sea turtles were counted on the small islet of San Jose in Guanacaste, and the nearly extinct Eretmochelys imbricata (hawksbill) has been spotted returning to our country. After this bit of good news, the recent mysterious deaths of green sea turtles are certainly disheartening.
Source: ACG Costa Rica