Hundreds of Turtles Found Dead on Beach in India
Sea Turtle Week is June 16-20, but, hey, you already knew that. To celebrate these wide-ranging swimmers, we take a look at their journey from beach to sea -- and back again. Green turtles (above) are the largest of the hard-shell sea turtles, despite having a small head, and can weigh up to 350 pounds (135-160 kilograms). They can grow to 3 feet in length.30 Days Of The Ocean: Photos
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Every morning during the nesting season for green and loggerhead turtles, ecologists from Israel's Nature and Parks Authority search the Mediterranean coastline for nests. They empty the nests and transplant the fragile eggs to protected hatcheries along the coast. Two months later, removed from man-made obstacles and protected from their natural predators -- crabs, foxes and birds -- the hatchlings enter the sea. Some will return more than 20 years later to the same beach and lay their eggs.PHOTOS: The Surprising World of Sea Squirts
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A loggerhead turtle hatchling races for the Mediterranean Sea after leaving a protected hatchery in Mikhmoret, north of Netanya, Israel.PHOTOS: Sharks, Marine Mammals Hang in Paradise
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This map shows the Hawksbill turtles' migration range. The turtles are capable of traveling hundreds to thousands of miles between nesting beaches and foraging areas, which are comparable to migrations of green and loggerhead turtles.NEWS: Strange, Carnivorous Sponge Found In Deep Sea
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Members of the Kuwait Environment Protection Society get ready to release a green sea turtle. The turtle, 45 years old and weighing 150 kilograms, was rescued from a fishing trap and released after undergoing medical attention. A tracking device was fixed on the turtle's back in order to help study the animal's movement in territorial waters.PHOTOS: Life On The Ocean Floor Garbage Patch
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The Times Of India reports that more than 300 olive ridley turtles have been found dead on Puri Beach in eastern India.
The publication notes that the turtles do on occasion wash up at this time of year, but a mass beaching of this size has people searching for answers.
While the cause of the mass death is not yet certain, initial theories suggest the animals may have been hit by fishing trawlers, the Times reporting that two ships have been seized in the area for illegal fishing.
Olive Ridley turtles are considered the most abundant sea turtle species, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Their range includes the tropical portions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Adults can weight about 100 pounds and reach about 2.5 feet long.
When nesting, the turtles gather just off shore and then head for the beach together, in a mass event known as an “arribada” (Spanish for arrival). Females nest once per year and make two trips to deposit up to 100 eggs per visit.
The trawlers were seized because they were in violation of a fishing ban period put in place to accommodate the turtles' nesting season.