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Dead turtles wash up on Del. beaches
Wind-driven seas push animals in harm's way

The News Journal

More than a dozen dead sea turtles have washed ashore along Delaware's beaches since Friday, victims of Mother Nature and man.

Wind-whipped seas have been driving turtles closer to shore, where they've been coming in contact with human activity - notably the propellers of ships and boats. Officials on Tuesday said 16 of the turtles had washed up at beaches from Fenwick Island to Slaughter Beach.

"I'm losing count," said Suzanne Thurman of the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, a nonprofit group that responds to marine mammal and sea turtle strandings in Delaware.

Thurman said all of the turtles found so far have shown wounds that were consistent with being hit by boat propellers, or by dredges used to scrape the bottom of the ocean for scallops and other shellfish.

That's what's killing them, she said. But the weather is a factor.

"The wave energy is just throwing everything up to shore that it can," she said.

Since late last week, beach-goers have found the carcasses washing ashore in the rough seas of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, compliments of what is now Tropical Depression Frances and a strong high pressure area off the coast.

Strong easterly winds have pushed waves and water ashore, causing some Kemp's ridley, leatherback and loggerhead turtles to wash in. But the winds have also created dangerous rip currents for swimmers and helped carve away precious sand from area beaches.

Thurman is hopeful other animals can withstand the next few days as the weather assault continues.

Kent Buckson, captain of the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, said lifeguards found one dead sea turtle that washed up on the south end of the beach over Labor Day weekend. It was an unusual sight, he said.

"I think the last time we had a sea turtle wash up was a good eight years ago," Buckson said. "At least to wash up on our beach."

He said the carcasses pose no danger to swimmers, though they could attract some tiger sharks to feed on the turtle remains

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He said the carcasses pose no danger to swimmers, though they could attract some tiger sharks to feed on the turtle remains

Boy if they only knew !!!!!!!! I think that the turtles have been drawing big tigers in . I caught a few this summer that were monsters. We could see oval objects in there bellies. The sad thing is tigers aren't to be touched , so they are running ramped. Ya can't have the best of both worlds shark free beaches with turtles swimming around.
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