According to WPLG, a beach goer discovered the dead turtle on Hollywood Beach and called the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program (BCTCP) to report the incident.
“I saw what I thought was originally like a nesting turtle, and I was excited,” Emily Robinson, the woman who spotted the turtle, told the broadcaster.
She added: “It’s kind of magnificent to see something so big, and then you realise right away that it’s wrong, and then I realised she was dead and I did a little cry.”
A sea turtle specialist with the conservation programme told the outlet that specialists found the three to four foot, 400 pound turtle floating in the water.
The conservationists noted that upon inspection of the turtle they found what appeared to be a fresh puncture wound to its head with wet blood. The creature was also said to be bloated and decomposing.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched an investigation into the death, as the species are protected under law.
“The odds against them are tremendous and seeing one this size be gone, it just really rips you up and it’s a real reality check,” Ms Robinson said.
The turtle will be moved to a laboratory and examined so that scientists can determine the cause of death.
WPLG said the portion of the beach where the turtle is found is a sea turtle nesting area. They stipulated that it was not known if the reptile was there to lay eggs.
BCSTCP is run in partnership with Broward County and works with multiple community volunteer organizations to monitor sea turtle nesting activities over 24 miles of beach.
“Florida beaches are the most important areas for nesting in the United States,” the conservation group says on its website, pointing out they account for 70 per cent of the nation’s sea turtle nesting.
The World Wide Fund (WWF) says that “over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners.”
They point out that “nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.”
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