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Environmental officers say 113 sea turtle deaths remain a mystery

Puerto Arista, Chiapas — The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection says as of August 13, 113 sea turtles have been found dead in the area of the Tortuguero Sanctuary of Puerto Arista in Chiapas.

In a statement, the agency says they are continuing to work with the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and monitor the area of the Tortuguero Sanctuary where sea turtles began washing up on shores in July.

They report that as of August 13, 102 of the 113 dead sea turtles are that of the olive ridley who are classified as Endangered by Extinction in Mexico. Numerous agencies continue to work on the reasoning behind the deaths.

Involved are the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries, the Miguel Álvarez del Toro Zoo, the Secretariat of Environment and Natural History and the Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Government of the State of Chiapas.

On July 24, the first of the dead sea turtles began appearing. Since then, dozens more have appeared along a 30-kilometer stretch of Pacific coast. Although officials have suggested scenarios including asphyxiation or death by fishing hooks, the reasoning behind the deaths of the sea turtles remains a mystery.

Water samples have been taken along the beaches of Puerto Arista where the turtles have been washing up. Profepa officers say that liver samples of the dead turtles have also been taken. Officials say they continue to wait for the results.