WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Three dead turtles recently washed ashore in the Gulf Coast, and members of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies are working find out why.
Even though it happened years ago, officials are trying to determine if the turtle deaths can be credited to the BP oil spill.
"Since the oil spill, the numbers have been down," said Wendy Hatchett, IMMS veterinarian technician and assistant stranding coordinator. "This is a spike this year, and it makes us very concerned. Whether it's red tide, whether it's left over from the oil spill, we really don't have a clue until we can actually send the tissues out and have them analyzed."
In the year 2016 year alone, 48 dead Kemps Ridley turtles have washed ashore across the Gulf Coast; including one turtle recovered Sunday morning and three the day before.
Residents who live in the area immediately called authorities when they found the animal Sunday. When IMMS officials checked the turtle, they found something very familiar.
"Unfortunately the turtle was tagged, which means that we had released this turtle before. It had been possibly caught on a pier," said Alicia Carron, IMMS veterinarian technician.
Officials say they will continue to research why the turtles have died.