Rare leatherback sea turtles wash up dead in South Carolina

(Photo credit should read JIMIN LAI/AFP/Getty Images)

UNSPECIFIED: A leatherback turtle is seen in this undated handout photo from the Marine Conservation Society. The Marine Conservation Society launched a survey encouraging the public to report sightings of jellyfish in an attempt to track and protect a very rare leatherback turtle. A main part of the research is to understand the lives of the endangered turtles which feed on jellyfish when they migrate from the Caribbean to the UK in the summer. (Photo by Peter Richardson via Getty Images)

KEMAMAN, MALAYSIA: Leatherback turtle hatchlings are gathered in a bucket prior to their release into the sea on a beach at a turtle sanctuary near the eastern town of Kemaman, 17 August 2004. Several populations of sea turtles in Malaysia are on the brink of collapse and could soon be extinct unless urgent action is taken, scientists warned. AFP PHOTO / Jimin LAI (Photo credit should read JIMIN LAI/AFP/Getty Images)

KEMAMAN, MALAYSIA: Leatherback turtle hatchlings make their way into the sea after being released on a beach at a turtle sanctuary near the eastern town of Kemaman late 17 August 2004. Several populations of sea turtles in Malaysia are on the brink of collapse and could soon be extinct unless urgent action is taken, scientists warned. AFP PHOTO / Jimin LAI (Photo credit should read JIMIN LAI/AFP/Getty Images)

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (AP) — Two dead leatherback sea turtles have been discovered along South Carolina’s coast.

The Post and Courier reports that the large sea turtles are rarely seen in the area. One was found dead on the beach in front of Fort Moultrie on Friday, while another was first spotted already decomposing behind a sea wall on Isle of Palms on Saturday.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources sea turtle recovery coordinator Michelle Pate says both turtles were hit by boats. She says that 14 leatherbacks have washed up dead since January, with 10 of those in the past three weeks. Most of the turtles, which are endangered, had died from boat strikes.

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