Dead turtles washing ashore along the mid-Atlantic coast have scientists looking for answers.
State and federal officials who track sea turtle populations say dead turtles have been found from New Jersey to Virginia. An unusually high amount of dead turtles was found in Virginia in May.
Five sea turtles were found dead in the past week or two on New Jersey and Delaware shores including a leatherback turtle weighing up to 500 pounds that washed up in Dewey Beach.
Suzanne Thurman, the head of Delaware's Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, says onshore winds might be bringing in dead and dying turtles that would otherwise stay at sea.
Kate Sampson, a turtle researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The News Journal of Wilmington, Del. that a warmer than usual winter may also be a factor. Sampson says stranding coordinators from Maine to Virginia plan to meet next week to discuss the issue.
“Once turtles start moving into an area, the strandings start to increase,” Sampson told Delaware Online.