The graphic image of a sea turtle who was found strangled by an Alabama football beach chair is now being used as a reminder to pick up your belongings after leaving the beach.
The endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was found Saturday morning along the coast of a Fort Morgan, Alabama beach by a sea turtle conservation group, according to a Facebook post.
“This makes me so mad. How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up?” Fort Morgan Share the Beach posted to Facebook. “It should just be common decency. I think I am going to print this out and carry it with me next time I have to ask.”
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Matt Ware says the turtle was found during “turtle patrol” stranding and salvage activities. The National Park Service says The Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network is a network of volunteers who document when sea turtles are found stranded in the U.S.
“A stranded sea turtle is one that is located washed ashore or floating, alive or dead,” its website says. “Dead turtles are often salvaged for necropsy and study.”
Ware wrote in a Facebook comment that it is “difficult to tell” how long the turtle has been dead.
“The chair had some growth on it and the turtle was showing signs of decomposition, though not extensive,” he posted. “It’s late in the season for these guys to be nesting, so either she’s been carrying it around awhile or she picked it up in the water.”
He also told NBC15 that the turtle could have been suffering for awhile.
“It stinks when you see a turtle up on the beach for any reason, but to see one tangled in that kind of debris it really just kind of breaks your heart,” he told the station in a video interview.
Ware told NBC15 that the turtle was tangled in the cords of a red Alabama football beach chair.
“We did it,” Share the Beach volunteer Richard Brewer told WALA. “Turtles will not encounter chairs if it were not for us. Heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking.”
The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has been on the endangered species list since 1970, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are considered the smallest of the sea turtles.
Sea Turtle Conservancy estimate that there are about 7,000 to 9,000 nesting Kemp’s ridley sea turtle females left and a turtle’s greatest threat is human activities.