Residents of northern Nova Scotia have seen quite a few strange things over the years but never has something like this washed up from Bras d’Or Lake.
Last week a local Cape Bretoner, Ron MacLean, was out walking the shores in front of his home when he stumbled across this deceased Leatherback turtle, measuring about two meters from tip to tail and one meter across the shell.
MacLean told CBC’s Information Morning Cape Breton:
When I touched it it was floating a bit, so it wasn’t moving, so I knew it was dead, but it was in good condition. It didn’t look like it was there that long, but that would be because, with the ice and the cold and such.”
As you can probably imagine moving such a large animal from the ice, all while keeping its integrity is no easy feat. The effort required tactful manoeuvring and the help of some sturdy wooden ramps and heavy machinery.
For those who don’t know much about Leatherback turtles; this cold blooded creature is one of the world’s largest reptiles and can reach more that 2 meters in length weighing more than 900 kilograms. According to DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans), Leatherbacks are known to swim up to 12,000 kilometres a year and dive to depths of up to 1.2 kilometres.
As much as sea turtles have been sighted along Nova Scotia and Cape Breton’s shoreline during the summer, they typically move to warmer tropical waters in the winter time for nesting.
Why this big guy ended up so far north in the winter, is still a mystery but a few scientists have some very plausible hypothesis.
This was probably an animal that was probably feeding late into the year along the coastline in the open Atlantic side of Cape Breton […] It probably wondered into one of the inlets as it was feeding on jellyfish. I suspect, given where it was, it probably didn’t easily reorient to find its way back out into the open Atlantic.”
— Sea turtle biologist Mike James
Given the Leatherback endangered species status, finding one dead is always a blow to the population, but this death will not be in vain. Since its discovery, the animal carcass been removed and transported to the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown PEI for a follow up necropsy.
Here scientists will be able to collect as much information as possible on this species, and hopefully use some of this data to eventually help this turtle population rebound.
Writers Note: Sources CBC News, Global News, the Canadian Sea Turtle Network and DFO. Photo Credit: Sue MacLean and The Canadian Press/HO, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Nova Scotia has seen a few strange things over the years, but never has a 360 kg leatherback turtle washed up dead and frozen in a Cape Breton lake.
Beneath the waters of the Gulf of Naples are the remains of an ancient Roman civilization lost to the sands of time and guess what? You can dive it!
For some people scuba diving is more than just a hobby - it’s a lifestyle. Here is everything you should know about getting your divemaster certification.
Sometimes a dive doesn’t go according to plan and when that happens, it’s important to be seen. Learn all about surface markers and why you should have one.
Find out how a couple of scuba divers made a gigantic snow sculpture to try and turn the tides on plastic use in the city of North Bay.
Submerging into the cold waters of Deer Island is one of the best ways to appreciate the vibrant array of colour the Bay of Fundy hides beneath her surface.
It's not easy being green in a day and age where everything is plastic and waste. Let sustainability lead the way as you explore the underwater world.
With the civil unrest a recent memory, few places in the world lay claim to unexplored waters off its coastline. Let Albania help you become an underwater explorer.
There are many scuba diving agencies that play a role in training divers. Here is a look at PADI, NAUI and SSI, the top scuba agencies in the world.
Nova Scotia is filled with cold water diving opportunities, particularly around shores of Halifax.