SEAL BEACH, Calif. — The carcass of an endangered Pacific leatherback turtle washed onto a Southern California beach this week.
The Orange County Register reports Sunset Beach resident John Gordon spotted the creature Monday evening in Seal Beach.
Gordon tells the newspaper there was visible damage to the rear of the turtle’s body.
Leatherbacks are the largest turtles in the world, growing up to 2,000 pounds and 6.5 feet long.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Pacific leatherback populations have plummeted in recent decades, primarily due to extensive egg harvesting and being caught in fishing gear.
Eastern Pacific leatherbacks nest along the Pacific coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica. Western Pacific leatherbacks migrate from Maylaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to feed along the Pacific Coast of North America.