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Reward offered for information in the case of a sea turtle with lethal head injury

September 07, 2018

The threatened loggerhead was discovered in southern Core Sound, near Smyrna, NC


NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement is seeking information related to an incident involving a loggerhead turtle found along southern Core Sound near Smyrna, NC, on Sunday, August 26. The loggerhead, which is protected by the Endangered Species Act, sustained what appeared to be a deliberate head injury that required immediate attention.

The animal was recovered alive and transported to the NC State University Veterinary Hospital, where internal images were taken in order to visualize the damage. Due to the severity of its head injury, the loggerhead was euthanized. Veterinary specialists suspect that the injury occurred between 24 to 48 hours before the animal was first found.  


Loggerhead turtle with head injury, Core Sound, NC

Photo credit: Matt Godfrey, NC Wildlife Resources Commission

NOAA officials are seeking information from anyone who may have information about this incident. Please call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Tips may be left anonymously.

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centerthe Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project and the Coastal Conservation Association North Carolina are offering a combined reward of $2,000 for information leading to the successful identification and/or prosecution of the person(s) responsible.  Include your name and contact information when calling enforcement to be eligible for the reward.

Under the Endangered Species Act and regulations that implement the Act, it is illegal to harm, wound, or kill any threatened species of sea turtle.  Violations may be prosecuted civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $24,625 and/or up to six months in prison. 

*Media: please contact Allison Garrett with questions/interview requests at 727-330-0309 or via email, Allison.Garrett@noaa.gov


Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on September 14, 2018

Sea Turtles