Alarming sea turtle deaths in Central America

Hundreds of sea turtles are washing up dead on the beaches of Central America and scientists don’t know why.

One hypothesis is that the killer is a potent neurotoxin that can be produced by algae during red tides, which are large accumulations of algae that turn sea water red or brown.

The puzzling thing, though, is that red tides have come and gone before without taking such a deadly toll on turtles.

Making things worse, some of the turtles dying are from endangered species.

In El Salvador, for instance, from late September to the middle of October, 114 sea turtles were discovered dead on Pacific coast beaches, according to the environment ministry.

They were black turtles (Chelonia agassizii), Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and ones that are a cross between the two.

Scientists throughout Central America are alarmed, and the only laboratory that specialises in these creatures is taking tissue and organ samples to figure out what is going on.

Source | AFP

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