Endangered sea turtle trapped in legs of bar stool found dead

Endangered sea turtle trapped in legs of bar stool found dead. Source: South Walton Turtle Watch

Researchers are reporting a spike in the number of sea turtle deaths. Many of them in our area are due to people’s negligence.

Rescue groups are pleading with beachgoers to clean up their trash.

A turtle was found off Pensacola Beach in the spring tangled in discarded fishing line. Its life was spared when William Pitts pulled the turtle from the Gulf, removed the sea trash, and returned it to the water.

Another turtle was found on Monday up the coast in South Walton County. It was not as lucky.

Michael Abshure is with the South Walton Turtle Watch.

"A resident found a turtle in a short bar stool. He pulled it dead out of the ocean,” said Abshure.

The creature, a rare and critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley female, is believed to have died a horrible death after being caught and trapped in the legs of a bar stool.

It remains too far gone for a necropsy.

"It was very heartbreaking to see such an endangered animal. Had to be a terrible way to die, entangled in that chair. I imagine it was a long slow death,” Abshure said.

A second Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle faced a similar death near Fort Morgan, Alabama involving a beach chair.

Nature is also taking a toll on them as well. In Southwest Florida, a red tide algae bloom has killed 287 turtles since last October, but the negligence of man is something that can be prevented.

Abshure hopes the images of the sea turtle send a message to the public.

"They need a clean area. Take your trash, if you build a hole please cover it at the end of the day,” he said.

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