Mystery mass deaths of green turtles in Australia

Jun 29, 2012

Scientists were at a loss Friday to explain the mysterious deaths of more than 70 green turtles that have washed up on beaches in northeast Australia over the last week.

Queensland state authorities said 62 of the were confirmed dead and another 10 were spotted floating at sea by a helicopter.

Marty McLaughlin, operations manager at Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services, said the turtles were nourished and had no obvious signs of illness.

"There is no obvious cause of death. We've tested for all the normal reasons, like boat strikes and starvation, but that has not occurred," he told AFP.

"It is species-specific to and we can't see any signs of toxicity or chemicals, and our analysis to date has shown no . It's a complete mystery."

All of the turtles were found around Upstart Bay, south of Townsville, in the past week.

McLaughlin said crabs and pigs feeding on the carcasses did not appear affected by whatever killed the turtles, which are considered vulnerable under national legislation.

Explore further: Some scientists share better than others

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Flood-ravaged turtles released in Moreton Bay

Dec 01, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A University of Queensland biological researcher has led the Moreton Bay release of four turtles that suffered starvation and illness from the January floods.

Rare turtles returned to the Philippines

Apr 27, 2012

Thirty-one live turtles, including some rare species, that were smuggled to Hong Kong were flown back to the Philippines on Friday but five others did not live to make the trip, an official said.

Green turtles return to Malaysia but future bleak

Aug 05, 2010

Green turtles are returning to Malaysia in their hundreds after being nearly wiped out, but experts warned Thursday that the species is still headed for oblivion if habitat loss is not stopped.

'Heat-proof' eggs help turtles cope with hot beaches

Sep 26, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sea turtles face an uncertain future as a warming climate threatens to reduce their reproductive viability. However, new research led by the University of Exeter and published this week in ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0