The Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance is offering a $2,500 reward on behalf of the Outer Banks Preservation Association, the N.C. Beach Buggy Association and the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club for information leading to the identity of the driver who ran over a nesting loggerhead sea turtle in Frisco on Memorial Day.
Park service staff discovered the turtle at 5:30 a.m. May 25 approximately 0.10 miles south of Ramp 49 on Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Loggerheads are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Based on evidence at the scene, the park service believes the turtle had begun to lay eggs into a nest dug in the beach when a motor vehicle struck and ran her over.
“Observations suggest the time of the apparent collision was one or more hours prior to 5:30 a.m., during a time where the route was closed to off road vehicle use,” the NPS said in a news release. “Intact eggs were discovered near the dead loggerhead sea turtle and are thought to be viable.”
Sea turtle nesting season on the Outer Banks run from May through August and this was the Outer Banks’ second turtle nest of the season. Loggerheads, which weigh an average of 250 pounds and are generally about three feet long, return to the same beach where they were hatched to lay eggs.
The seashore is actively investigating this incident and is seeking information regarding a vehicle driving on the beach at Ramps 49 or 48 in Frisco between 9 p.m. on May 24 and 5:30 a.m. today, May 25. Anyone with information that may help determine the circumstances and events that led to the death of this sea turtle are asked to contact the Dare County Community CrimeLine or the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch (ISB).
National Park Service ISB Tip Line:
Call or text the ISB Tip Line at 888-653-0009
Online at www.nps.gov/isb and click “Submit a Tip”
“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.
Ramp 49, along with other priority off road vehicle ramps (ramps 2, 4, 25, 27, 43, 44, 48, 49, 70, and 72), are closed to vehicles nightly from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. All other ocean-facing off road vehicle ramps are closed to vehicles from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Visitors are reminded that sea turtles, while predominately nesting during nighttime hours, may be present on Seashore beaches at any hour of the day.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.