Researchers want to autopsy the dead leatherback turtle from the North Sea that was found a few days ago. The carcass was brought to Büsum to the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW) of the Hannover Veterinary University Foundation, as the institute announced.

The animal found by the crew of the buoy layer “Triton” was a leatherback turtle, approximately 1.70 meters tall and weighing 500 kilograms. Because the decomposition is already well advanced, the carcass is initially stored frozen in a freezer container. “We want to avoid further loss of information,” says Joseph Schnitzler from ITAW.

According to information, several museums have already expressed interest in the skeleton and the creation of specimens. In order to succeed in obtaining bone specimens, the researchers should carry out the autopsy hand in hand with taxidermists from the museums. The work will therefore take a few weeks longer.

Leatherback turtles – named for their thick leathery skin – are the largest species of sea turtle, according to the WWF. According to Schnitzler’s previous information, leatherback turtles are cosmopolitan animals that live both in the tropics and in colder waters. We know from collared animals that they can cover many thousands of kilometers in one season, said Schnitzler. They are rarely found in the North Sea. However, they do occasionally occur off the Scottish coast in the Atlantic.