Scientists are baffled by the mysterious mass death of over 70 green sea turtles around Upstart Bay in north Queensland.
The dead green sea turtles have washed up on beaches during the past week, with additional deaths identified by aerial helicopter surveys which spotted dead turtles floating at sea. A total of 73 dead turtles have now been discovered.
Most of the turtles were adult females and appeared well nourished. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Marty McLaughlin, operations manager at Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services, said "This is classified as an unusual event."
Naharnet reported McLaughlin also said "There is no obvious cause of death. We've tested for all the normal reasons, like boat strikes and starvation, but that has not occurred," adding "It is species-specific to green turtles and we can't see any signs of toxicity or chemicals, and our analysis to date has shown no parasites. It's a complete mystery."
Scientists are now waiting for toxicology reports to shed some light as even live turtles are reported to be disorientated and obviously sick.
Green sea turtles are classified as a vulnerable species and protected under Northern Territory legislation.