Dozens of dead turtles have been washing up on beaches along Flanders Bay— with little explanation as to what is killing them. The bloated bodies of dozens of diamondback terrapins, a species of turtle that can be found in coastal wetlands along the East Coast, have been found scattered across the shores of several Jamesport and Flanders beaches since late April. “A woman called who said her daughter had seen a hundred turtles dead on the beach,” said Jim Divan, Riverhead Town Bay Constable. “I was like — a hundred turtles? That sounds crazy.” 

But when he arrived at the beach, residents there told him they’d taken “about 100 of them” from the beach over the weekend. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Divan said. “They were all dead.”“We’ve just been getting more and more calls every single day,” said Karen Testa, executive director of Jamesport-based Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons.

Testa has collected the bodies of at least 50 terrapins since April 21, when the first report came in. “And that’s just the ones that happen to wash up, the ones we happen to find,” Testa said. “People don’t walk the entire shoreline of the island. These turtles could be dying in the middle of the bay, and they just float down to the bottom and no one ever finds them. FULL REPORT