Spain: Endangered turtle died of fishing line injuries


Spain: Endangered turtle died of fishing line injuries

As reported by Italian website, in Spain, a 230 kg leatherback turtle died after being fished out in the Spanish port of Mazarrón due to injuries caused by fishing lines. He did not make it. The turtle died after it was released into the sea.

The turtle, almost one and a half meters long, had been urgently transferred to the recovery center for marine animals of the Oceanogràfic València park: the vets tried to treat the serious injuries to the fins and shell, but after showing signs of recovery, the turtle died suddenly after being released into the sea, after about 48 hours.

This species lives in warm and temperate seas. It lives on the high seas, it approaches the coasts to reproduce and hunt. The species was considered critically endangered according to the criteria of the IUCN Red List. Its capture is also prohibited in countries that allow fishing for other turtles.

Spain: Endangered turtle died of fishing line injuries

Very sensitive to marine pollution, it is also endangered by the ingestion of floating plastic bags which it mistakes for jellyfish and by disturbing the nesting sites.

In 2013, following new population controls, the IUCN lowers the risk of extinction from critically endangered to vulnerable species. Currently the estimated population is equal to about 54,000 specimens and it is estimated that in 2040 the population could rise to over 180,000 specimens.

It deposits, only late at night, in early summer, between 50 and 150 eggs each time. The eggs are almost spherical (52-55 x 57-60 mm), with a soft shell, and are laid in holes even more than one meter deep. It reproduces every 2-3 years.

After 50-70 days, the young are born, 5-6 cm long and with an average weight of 3.5 g. The mortality of young people is very high: out of a thousand births, only 1 or 2 survive at the end of the first year of life. The carapace is formed by small bony plates arranged in a mosaic, covered with a thick but flexible leathery and smooth skin, a trait that in English has earned it the common name of leatherback turtle, or leatherback turtle.

The carapace is crossed by 7 longitudinal ridges, while the plastron is furrowed by 5 fairings. Blackish or dark brown color with light spots. Small W-shaped horny beak. In the male the plastron is concave and the tail reaches and sometimes exceeds the length of the rear flippers, in the female the plastron is convex and the tail is shorter than the limbs.

Pic by @Oceanogràfic València/Facebok