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101 dead sea turtles found in state of Guerrero

Guerrero, Mexico — Environmental officials continue with research into the deaths of 101 sea turtles along beaches in several municipalities in the state of Guerrero.

Officers with la Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (Profepa) say that in coordination with various other federal agencies, they continue to work to find the cause of the deaths of the 101 sea turtles.

Profepa reports the sea turtles have been found in varying degrees of decomposition in six municipalities of the state of Guerrero, adding that the turtles do not exhibit any signs of marks related to fishing gear.

The Federal Office of Environmental Protection says the deaths were reported by both the public as well as sea turtle camp managers along various beaches of the six municipalities.

The deceased turtles have appeared on beaches in the municipalities of Cuajinicuilapa, Copala, Acapulco de Juárez, Coyuca de Benitez, Tecpan de Galeana and Zihuatanejo de Azueta.

Photo: La Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente

Profepa has requested members of the Red de Atención para Varamientos de Mamíferos Marinos to gather information about the cases while they continue coordinating trips to beaches to inspect the dead turtles.

During tours, environmental officers found that the turtles do not present any kind of sign or marks that indicate damage by fishing gear. Unfortunately due to the advanced state of decomposition, it was not possible to take samples to determine their causes of death.

Profpea reports that they continue to work with the Navy of Mexico by touring waters to find more specimens and, where appropriate, take samples, but they say only turtles found in advanced state of decomposition have been found so far.

One hypothesis of the cause of death is the proliferation of microalgae by the presence of red tide that when ingested by the turtles, can cause poisoning and paralyze the nervous system. Profepa staff have requested the support of the Ministry of Health to determine if red tide has been detected in the region.

The discovery of the sea turtles comes at the same time as the death of four California sea lions in the state of Baja California Sur. Profepa officers there have found four sea lions that died after becoming entangled in fishing line.