Updated September 21
A dead leatherback turtle found near Lambert’s Cove Beach on private property was probably killed by a propeller, “almost severing the carcass laterally across the carapace,” according to Suzan Bellincampi, director of Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Mass Audubon staff have examined the dead turtle and marked it with orange paint. The public is advised to keep clear of the turtle. This is the third deceased marine turtle found on-Island in less than a month. A loggerhead turtle was found on State Beach earlier in September, and another leatherback turtle was found in Harthaven in late August. Leatherback turtles regularly succumb to boat strikes because their pliant, leather-like shells are easily penetrated by props. Mass Audubon and Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby officials have embarked on a campaign to keep boaters watchful when underway to avoid hitting the marine reptiles, and to report any they encounter.
Boaters who spot leatherback turtles are encouraged to report the sighting at seaturtlesightings.org or via a hotline: 888-SEA-TURT.
Updated with more details. -Ed.