Dead green turtle washes ashore in Atu’u
Employees of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) discovered a female green turtle this past Monday afternoon in Atu’u waters, next to the canneries.
According to DMWR wildlife biologist Mark McDonald, the turtle, which was of breeding age, weighed 250 lbs., and was discovered by him and his crew: Wildlife Tech Ailao Tualaulelei and Sa Tuvalu.
The turtle was already dead when it was found — “it had probably been dead for a few weeks,” McDonald explained via email to Samoa News yesterday.
A necropsy performed in the DMWR wet lab revealed no signs of trauma and a s_kin sample will be sent to Hawaii for DNA analysis “to find out where the turtle came from”.
In addition, the shell will be analyzed using isotope analysis, which will reveal information on the turtle’s diet and habitat. A plastic bag was found in the turtle’s stomach and according to McDonald, the turtle probably ate it by mistake, thinking it was jellyfish or seaweed, “which is their normal diet”.
DMWR Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga said, “We urge the public — please don't throw plastic bags or any type of plastic into the ocean, because it harms our marine life.”