BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The number of dead sea turtles found on Brevard County beaches has nearly tripled over last year.
Officials said last March only 14 washed up, but so far this month 45 have surfaced.
"It's sad. I'm an animal lover. Never seen a sea turtle like this outside of an aquarium," beach visitor Becky Zavisza said.
Dave Cheney works with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. He said 21 of the turtles this month were hit by boats. Cold weather and strong winds also played a role by at times weakening turtles' immune systems.
"We've had a lot of strong easterly winds, and if a turtle is in distress, it will get washed in with water," Cheney said.
In an effort to determine the cause of death for turtles, officials send off parts like the flipper and head to a lab in Gainesville to figure out why the turtle died.
Brevard County is one of the largest sea turtle nesting areas in the world and the preservation society wants to educate more beachgoers about how to save the endangered creatures.
Wildlife officials said if you see a live, stranded turtle, do not put it back in the water, call 888-404-FWCC.
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