Nesting loggerhead turtle found dead Cape Hatteras National Seashore

MANTEO, NC (WWAY/AP) — The National Park Service says it is investigating after a nesting loggerhead sea turtle was found dead on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach, with signs that the creature was run over by a vehicle.

The female turtle came onto the beach early Monday morning and had begun to lay eggs in a nest in the sand, according to a news release from the federal park.

That’s when it is believed a motor vehicle struck the the turtle. This happened before 5:30 a.m., during a time where the route was closed to off road vehicles. Intact eggs thought to be viable were discovered nearby, the park said.

The Seashore is actively investigating this incident. Specifically, the Seashore is seeking information regarding a vehicle driving on the beach at Ramps 49 or 48 in Frisco between 9:00 p.m. on Sunday and 5:30 a.m. on Monday.

“At this time of year, ocean-facing off road vehicle ramps are closed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for an important reason – to protect nesting sea turtles. It is very unfortunate that a vehicle appears to have disregarded the Seashore’s regulations which has resulted in this turtle death,” stated Superintendent David Hallac.

Ramp 49, along with other priority off road vehicle ramps (ramps 2, 4, 25, 27, 43, 44, 48, 49, 70, and 72), are closed to vehicles nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. All other ocean-facing off road vehicle ramps are closed to vehicles from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Visitors are reminded that sea turtles, while predominately nesting during nighttime hours, may be present on Seashore beaches at any hour of the day.

Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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