This species is known to live in environments that are very warm and tropical such as the Carribean, Mexico, and southern parts of the U.S.
They also tend to travel to different shorelines in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to hunt for food.
Therefore, it’s no surprise to spot one of these creatures hanging out at the beach. But it is uncommon to find one during one of the coldest winters in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Resident Ron MacLean recently came across one of these critters in his small community of Islandview. The rare endangered species was found dead on the shore located at Bras d’Or Lake.
MacLean, who lives near the shoreline, said he was walking outside one Thursday when he thought he had discovered an overturned boat in the ice.
Upon closer inspection, it was actually a leatherback turtle.
Apparently, the corpse hadn’t been there that long. “When I touched it it was floating a bit, so it wasn’t moving, so I knew it was dead, but it was in good condition,” MacLean said.
He tried contacting the Department of Fisheries and Oceans but wasn’t able to get in touch with them for a few days.
Finally, on that Sunday, his email to the Canadian Sea Turtle Network was answered.
After seeing a picture of the deceased reptile, DFO made their way on the scene.
The creature, weighing 360 kilograms, had once co-existed with the dinosaurs, so it was something the agency really wanted to have for themselves.
That following Tuesday, MacLean helped DFO pull the turtle out of the frozen ice using his tractor. It was then placed on a wooden pallet and transported to the Atlantic Veterinary College.
Measuring two meters long and about a meter wide, experts couldn’t believe that a leatherback had traveled that far into their frigid region.
There had been rumors of sightings and discovering the carcass had just confirmed all speculation.
DFO has now been working on finding out how it ended up there. Since these turtles are known to “swim up to 12,000 [kilometers] a year,” it could have very well traveled that far.
What they do know right now is that this is the first sighting in Bras d’Or Lake.While they have plans to do further research on the leatherback’s remains, it’s discovery has already made history in the local area.
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