Leatherback sea turtle humanely euthanized after washing ashore for 2nd time


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A leatherback turtle who washed ashore on Monday has been humanely euthanized after washing ashore again Tuesday morning.

The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response team responded to the sea turtle that came ashore Monday in Ocean View.

Natalie Sims, a spokeswoman for the aquarium couldn’t confirmed if it was sick or hurt, but was waiting on more details. The turtle came ashore at 25th Bay Street.

After monitoring the turtle, officials from the Virginia Aquarium say it returned to the water.

Although there were no outward evidence of injury, they say the turtle’s behavior and “inability to move in deep water” suggests it might be having complications.

The Virginia Aquarium says it could not bring the turtle to its Stranding Response facility due to its size and natural behavior.

“Leatherback sea turtles are open ocean, deep-diving turtles and tend to fare poorly in a rehab setting,” says Sims.

After monitoring the animal for most of the day and trying to safely return the sea turtle to the water, the Virginia Aquarium says the turtle washed ashore again Tuesday morning.

 “Although there was no outward evidence of injury, the turtle’s behavior and inability to move into deep water suggest that it will not survive if re-floated a second time,” says Sims.

 Due to the size and natural behavior of the species and this individual turtle’s behavior, the team made the humane decision to euthanize in order to not prolong suffering.

Officials say the Virginia Aquarium conferred with other agencies and institutions before coming to the difficult decision.

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