This beautiful 500 lb leatherback sea turtle was found injured on our beach in South Padre Island on Thanksgiving. She had suffered a traumatic head injury and unfortunately succumbed to her injuries after 48 hours. Our veterinarian, Dr. Tom deMaar, performed a necropsy and many tissue samples are being distributed to sea turtle scientists for research.
Thanks to established tag return programs around the globe, we were able to find a lot of information about her. This beautiful nesting female was first encountered laying eggs in Tortuguero, Costa Rica in 1997. She was subsequently spotted in 1999 in Tortuguero, Costa Rica and in the Pacuare Reserve, Costa Rica in 1999, 2002, 2008, 2015, and 2017. Considering leatherback sea turtles become sexually mature at around 16 years or more, this beautiful nesting female was at least between 35-40 years old! She had travelled over 2,700 miles to reach South Padre Island.
We would not be able to obtain all this information if it was not for the help of the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, who facilitated the exchange of tag information from our partners in Costa Rica, the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Pacuare Reserve. **All tag information was provided by the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Pacuare Reserve