Loggerhead sea turtle found fatally injured, reward offered

SMYRNA, NC (WWAY) — A loggerhead sea turtle was found in southern Core Sound with a head injury so severe, it had to be euthanized.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement is seeking information about what happened.

The loggerhead, which is protected by the Endangered Species Act, sustained what appeared to be a deliberate head injury that required immediate attention.

The animal was found alive and transported to the NC State University Veterinary Hospital, where internal images were taken. Due to the severity of its head injury, the loggerhead was euthanized. Veterinarians suspect the turtle was hurt between 24 to 48 hours before it was found.

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project are offering a combined reward of $1,350 for information leading to the successful identification and/or prosecution of those responsible.

(Warning: Some of the images in the slideshow may be disturbing)

You can call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964.

Include your name and contact information when calling enforcement to be eligible for the reward. Tips can also be left anonymously.

Under the Endangered Species Act and regulations that implement the Act, it is illegal to harm, wound, or kill any threatened species of sea turtle.

Violations may be prosecuted civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $24,625 and/or up to six months in prison.

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