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Dead sea turtles washing up on area beaches

ENGLEWOOD – The onslaught of red tide on our area is not over yet. Dead sea turtles are now reportedly washing up across southwest Florida.

Cindy Blasa enjoys Englewood Beach for its wildlife and scenic views. But on Thursday night, she saw something she'll likely never forget.

"We came down for sunset and we saw a mound out at the water's edge,” said Blasa.

That "mound" was a dead loggerhead sea turtle that had washed ashore.

"It’s just very sad. We've seen some dead turtles in the past, but never one this big,” she said.

The Coastal Wildlife Club says the loggerhead had no apparent injuries, and it's possible this death could be connected to the recent red tide outbreak.

In the past week and a half, local researchers have seen four dead sea turtles on south Manasota Key, including two critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

Recent red tide blooms in the gulf have led to devastating fish kills in the area.

Researchers from Mote Marine Lab say these turtles had no injuries then were likely killed from red tide, but samples must be taken for sure.

Red tide is a natural, toxic algae that forms in the gulf.

“It has a toxin called ‘brevetoxin’ which is released and it can cause fish kills and aquatic life kills,” said Dr. Tracy Fanara with Mote Marine Lab.

Red tide can also cause respiratory issues for beachgoers.