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Turtle learning time...

Loggerhead Turtle Necropsy


On the 6th of December 2019 the Dolphin Team received the news of a deceased Loggerhead Turtle found by Reserve Rangers. The turtle was seen dead on the beach at Ponta Dobela and transported to Ponta do Ouro for post mortem examination.


To better understand the cause of death of this endangered species Dolphin Encountours Research Center conducted a necropsy. For educational purposes we invited a group of local school children to participate in this event. With the assistance of local school teacher –Mr Happy, principal –Petal and DolphinCare Volunteers- Simon and Elsa, the necropsy, led by Sabrina Sykes began by recording basic measurements and taking photos of the apparent shark bite marks on the carapace and flippers.


The female Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) measured at 80cm for the straight-line length of her carapace and 65cm straight-line carapace width. Her head measured at 17.5 cm wide and 24cm long. Measuring at 104 cm inclusive makes this Loggerhead turtle a fully grown adult. During the necropsy we found hundreds of developing eggs still inside her. There was no plastic found inside her stomach and no signs of visible parasite/worm infections in her main organs (heart, lungs, liver, gall bladder, stomach and spleen). She was seemingly in good health before being injured by a shark. The discolouration (purple/grey colouring) and bleeding around the bite sites lead us to believe that she was alive while the shark was biting her and that the injuries sustained by the shark are the cause of death.


The Dolphin team is saddened by the loss of this healthy female Loggerhead turtle but grateful her death was due to natural causes rather than man-made obstructions or pollution. Thank you to everyone that participated in this learning experience.




Please help us keep up the good work by donating to www.dolphinencountours.org/donate or joining us one one of our tours that support our research & conservation efforts in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve.

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Main Beach, Ponta do Ouro, next to Beach Bar & launch-site

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