Officials investigate ‘massacre’ of sea turtle nests in New York

SAYVILLE, N.Y. — An animal advocacy group is calling for action after more than 100 baby turtles were “literally mowed down” on a property in Long Island.

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The president and executive director of Humane Long Island, John Di Leonardo, told WNBC that a resident found the dead reptiles on Meadow Croft Estate in Sayville. Humane Long Island is asking the New York Department of Environmental Protection and local officials to investigate what happened, and is calling for a “prohibition on mowing over or otherwise disturbing nesting sites” at the estate in spring, summer and fall, WNBC reported.

Karen Maloney, a photographer, told Newsday that she had gone to visit the estate to photograph the hatchlings when she saw what she described as a “massacre.” She told the newspaper the turtles were “smashed, flipped on their backs [with] missing limbs and squashed.”

“The massacre of more than 100 hatchlings is just the latest of a disturbing series of death attributed to human carelessness on Long Island,” Di Leonardo told WNBC.

The Sayville estate where the turtles were killed is county-owned, Newsday reported.

A spokesperson for the Suffolk County Parks Department told WNBC that the county “cares deeply about all wildlife living on County property and we do our best to protect all species at all times. We are aware of the situation at Meadow Croft Estate and staff has been deployed to investigate the site. Going forward we will be working with experts to determine any adjustments that could be made to prevent something like this from happening in the future.”

Maloney told Newsday that she found 10 turtles that had survived and moved them to a nearby creek bordering the property.