Over 300 sea turtles have died recently on the Oaxacan coast of Mexico when they were caught in the nets of tuna boats.
Oaxaca Civil Protection services said that the olive ridley sea turtles were located in the Pacific Ocean three miles from Barra de Colotepec, a beach community near Puerto Escondido.
An anonymous tip led authorities and volunteers to launch an operation to free the entangled reptiles but almost all had died by the time they arrived.
A state agency employee, Agueda Robles, said that only one turtle was rescued alive and that the 300 dead turtles will be towed and moved to a nearby beach to be buried under sand.
Mexico, which is home to six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, has a permanent program to protect the reptiles, including criminal penalties for those who kill them. The office of the federal attorney for environmental protection (PROFEPA) said it would investigate the case.
Robles added that it will be the responsibility of the PROFEPA to apply sanctions to the owners of the tuna boats that caused the deaths of the animals.
The endangered olive ridley turtles are currently heading to the Mexican Pacific coast in the thousands to return to nesting grounds.
Earlier this month, authorities said they were investigating the deaths of 113 sea turtles at risk of extinction – 102 olive ridley turtles, six hawksbill, and five belonging to the green turtle species – in a sanctuary in the southern state of Chiapas.