KOTA KINABALU: An endangered green turtle was found dead on the beach of Sabah’s western Sipitang here after it was hit by a boat at sea.
The carcass of the metre long green turtle (scientifically known as Chelonia mydas) was found on the beach in front of a Sipitang resthouse and was reported to the Sabah Wildlife Department on Tuesday night.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said that a post-mortem on the decomposing turtle on Tuesday showed that it suffered severe head injuries.
"Our post-mortem finding revealed that the turtle, which was about 15 to 30 years old, sustained severe head trauma after being struck by a boat. A most unfortunate accident," he said Wednesday.
The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) was dispatched to the site immediately following the report and the carcass was then brought to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park for a post-mortem by WRU's veterinarians.
Dr Sen said the turtle was already dead for four to five days before it was washed ashore, adding that there were no other causes of death.
"The turtle was feeding well as the stomach and intestines were full of food. No plastic or other foreign material were found in the gastrointestinal tract," he said while ruling out floater syndrome as cause of death.
Floater syndrome occurs when turtles accidentally swallow plastic found floating in the sea and mistaking them as food.