The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has identified a carcass that washed up in Lusby, Maryland, as a leatherback turtle.
Stephen Schatz, the department’s director of communications, said that the turtle was “probably dead about a week or so ago.”
A siting of a large carcass on residential beach was first reported by The Bay Net Tuesday night. Schatz said that the DNR initially received reports of a floating carcass over the weekend, but waited until it beached to send a team out.
A three member team was on site by Wednesday, Schatz said.
Schatz said while it was hard to determine the cause of death, the turtle did have what looked like a buoy line wrapped around it.
“Who knows if that was the cause,” Schatz said.
Leatherback turtles are an endangered species. Schatz said that this kind of beaching happens maybe once or twice a year.
The DNR team collected samples, provided information to partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and disposed of the carcass, Schatz said. Any time the DNR performs a necropsy, it’s standard procedure to provide information to partnering agencies, according to Schatz.