Endangered olive ridley sea turtles found dead off Mexico

Turtles killed while trapped in a fishing net are seen in the municipality of Santa Maria Colotepec in the state of Oaxaca Mexico

Turtles killed while trapped in a fishing net are seen in the municipality of Santa Maria Colotepec in the state of Oaxaca Mexico

More than 300 sea turtles from an endangered species were found dead on a beach in southern Mexico, trapped in a banned type of fishing net, environmental authorities said.

According to the office for environmental protection, the turtles - called Olive Ridley turtles - drowned after becoming tangled in the net, which was found abandoned.

The news comes just days after another 113 sea turtles, most of which were also olive ridleys, washed ashore in Mexico's Chiapas state approximately 100 miles to the east.

As Wallace explained, these nets are "gear that was lost by its owner and not retrieved for one reason or another", thus leaving them in the water where unsuspecting animals like sea turtles may become caught in them.

While the turtles' cause of death has not yet been confirmed, experts now believe fishing nets to be the most likely culprit.

One fisherman told the news outlet the net didn't belong to a local, with others claiming it was from a foreign boat.

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Officials said that 102 olive ridley, six hawksbill and five Galapagos green bill turtles were found dead at the Playas de Puerto Arista Sanctuary between July 24 and August 13.

The Olive Ridley turtles, which are around 75cm in length and weigh about 45kg, lay their eggs on beaches across Mexico between May in September and are, sadly, at a "high risk" of extinction in the wild.

In Mexico, often dubbed the sea turtle capital of the world, the killing of a protected sea turtle species is a criminal offense.

A specialised federal attorney is investigating the case.

Experts say they could have been killed by harmful algae, fish hooks or could have suffocated while trapped in the nets.

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