Nesting loggerhead turtle found dead on Outer Banks, investigation underway

MANTEO, N.C. — The National Park Service said it is investigating after a nesting loggerhead sea turtle was found dead on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach, with signs that the creature was run over by a vehicle.

The female turtle came onto the beach early Monday morning and had begun to lay eggs in a nest in the sand, according to a news release from the federal park.

That’s when it is believed a vehicle struck the turtle. Intact eggs thought to be viable were discovered nearby, the park said. The collision happened during a time where the route was closed to off-road vehicle use.

“At this time of year, ocean-facing off-road vehicle ramps are closed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for an important reason – to protect nesting sea turtles. It is very unfortunate that a vehicle appears to have disregarded the Seashore’s regulations which has resulted in this turtle death,” stated Superintendent David Hallac.

Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.