No 'immediate signs' of human interaction in leatherback turtle necropsy

Atlantic Veterinary College patholigist Laura Bourque said there were no "immediate signs of human interaction" in the necropsy of the dead leatherback turtle found Tuesday.

'It was very rotten — when we opened it up the coelomic contents were almost liquefied'

The 700-pound female turtle was recovered from the water off a beach near O'Leary on Tuesday. The endangered leatherback turtles can be spotted throughout the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence of feeding on jellyfish. (Fish and Wildlife PEI/Facebook)

A dead leatherback turtle that was found washed ashore near O'Leary, P.E.I., on Tuesday showed no "immediate signs of human interaction," says one of the pathologists who conducted the necropsy.

The Atlantic Veterinary College searched the turtle for fractures on the flippers and carapace, said pathologist Laura Bourque, as well as looking for scars that may have indicated that the turtle had been entangled in fishing line. 

Bourque said they didn't see any sign of human interaction with the 700-pound female turtle, but also couldn't determine the exact cause of death because the body was so decomposed.

"It was very rotten, unfortunately — when we opened it up the coelomic contents were almost liquefied," Bourque said. 

"We were able to identify certain organs but other organs we were not. It was very smelly."

A dead leatherback turtle is recovered from the water off a beach near O'Leary, P.E.I. (Fish and Wildlife PEI/Facebook)

The college ruled out several signs of human contact.

However, Bourque said they cannot determine how old the turtle was or if they'll learn anything new about why the turtle even washed ashore.

The endangered turtles are known to migrate to the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait to feed on jellyfish.

"Because it's so decomposed I don't hold out much hope that these further tests that we're going to do will enlighten us very much," she said.

"This may remain a mystery, unfortunately."