Officials say a dead leatherback sea turtle has washed ashore in Delaware.
The Daily Times reports the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute says the roughly 5-foot-long estimated sub-adult turtle was discovered in Rehoboth Beach on Monday.
MERR executive director Suzanne Thurman says that it appears the turtle could've been hit by a large ship's propeller but they cannot tell if a gash on the animal came postmortem or not.
She says that leatherback sea turtles are an endangered species. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the leatherback sea turtle population has significantly declined in the last century. The specie is officially listed as "vulnerable" on the global scale, but populations in the Pacific and Southwest are listed as "critically endangered." The organization says the leatherbacks are "a fundamental link in marine ecosystems."
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Thurman says leatherbacks are one of four species that swim in waters near Delaware, and MERR responds to between 40 and 55 reports of sea turtles washing up onshore each season.