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Leatherback sea turtle euthanized after washing ashore twice in Ocean View

The stranding response team tried to return the turtle to the sea after it first washed onto the beach. A day later, it came back. Officials decided to put it down.
Credit: Virginia Aquarium

NORFOLK, Va. — After a leatherback sea turtle washed ashore twice on the beaches in Ocean View, Virginia Aquarium officials decided to humanely put down the animal.

An aquarium spokesperson said the stranding response team headed to the beach Monday morning after someone found the turtle on the beach.

They monitored the marine animal for most of the day and tried to safely return it to the sea. 

However, on Tuesday morning, they learned the turtle washed ashore again. The team responded again and found no evidence of any bodily injury. 

Officials said the turtle's behavior and inability to move into deep water implied that it wouldn't survive if the team attempted to get it back in the ocean again.

Leatherback sea turtles are open ocean, deep-diving turtles, and don't usually fare well in rehabilitation settings.

Due to the size and behavior of the turtle, the team decided to euthanize it so it wouldn't continue to suffer.

The Virginia Aquarium did consult other agencies and institutions before choosing to put down the turtle.

Credit: Virginia Aquarium