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Sea Turtle Found On Beach Died For The Saddest Reason

“It's very heartbreaking to know that it’s something that could have been prevented.”

On the shores of Fort Morgan, Alabama, last weekend, beachgoers stumbled upon a devastating reminder of just how much our litter is harming animals.

It was a critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle — lying on her back next to a broken beach chair half submerged in sand.

Someone had likely left the chair behind, and it had floated off into the ocean when the tide came in. Somewhere along the way, the turtle got caught in the chair’s strap and was strangled.

sea turtle litter death
The tangled sea turtle on shore | Facebook/Fort Morgan Share the Beach

Warning: Graphic photo below

Photos of the deceased animal washed ashore were shared online by conservation group Fort Morgan Share the Beach. The group — which works locally to protect the turtles — was heartbroken.

“How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up?” they wrote online. “It should just be common decency.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case — and it’s the animals who pay the price. While beach chairs may not seem to pose a big threat to animals, they can become a serious danger to sea turtles both in and out of the water.

“Sadly, this is not the first time we’ve seen a case like this,” Lexie Beach, communications coordinator for Sea Turtle Conservancy, told The Dodo. “Most commonly, the issue we see regarding beach chairs and sea turtles is that they actually run into them when trying to nest on the beach. Many times they’ve actually gotten stuck in a chair and rescued the next morning, or running into the chair causes them to false crawl (not nest) and head back to the ocean.”

For Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, every life lost is so significant. There are only around 1,000 left in the wild today, mainly due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and pollution.

Residents can only hope that by sharing these photos, they can encourage people to never leave anything behind on the beach.

sea turtle litter death
A Kemp's ridley sea turtle in the sand | Wikimedia Commons

"Sea turtles are important enough that we will go to whatever lengths we can to protect them,” Richard Brewer, a volunteer with Share the Beach, told WALA-TV. “It's very heartbreaking to know that it’s something that could have been prevented.”

To help protect sea turtles, you can make a donation to Sea Turtle Conservancy. You can also make a personal pledge to pick up litter whenever you see it on the beach.