This Kemps Ridley sea turtle found on the beach at Redington Shores is most likely the victim of a strike by a boat propeller.
CLEARWATER – Clearwater Marine Aquarium Marine Stranding Team recently responded to five stranded sea turtle calls in less than 24 hours in Pinellas County, ranging from Redington Shores to Clearwater Pass.
According to the CMA press release, all but one of the injured turtles was definitely the result of boat strikes. The other injured turtle was seen by beach bystanders in the surf and had swum off by the time CMA personnel responded to the scene. Two of the turtles were dead upon arrival and two more were deemed beyond rehabilitation. Two of these strikes were to Kemps Ridley sea turtles, the most endangered sea turtles in the world.
The recent string of strikes is most likely a result of a deadly combination of circumstances. Many turtles are starting to come out of hibernation from the recent cold stun and are floating near the top, basking in the waterways, and the beautiful weather has prompted more boaters to venture out into the water, causing the hits by skis and props.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium sea turtle staff is asking all boaters to watch speed zones and to be aware of areas with sunny mudflats as this is where turtles like to sleep and hunt for food. With education of proper boating practices the waterways can be safe for both boaters and marine life.