Environmental officials in El Salvador are trying to establish what caused the death of hundreds of sea turtles found floating in the sea.
Many of the 400 marine turtles were decomposing when they were discovered off El Salvador's Pacific coast, the country’s environment ministry said.
They were found floating around 13km (eight miles) offshore from Jiquilisco Bay, a biosphere reserve located approximately 110km from the capital of San Salvador.
“We don't know what caused the sea turtles' death,” the ministry said, adding that laboratory tests would be carried out.
“We collected samples from the dead turtles,” they said. “They will be analysed in a laboratory to determine what killed them.”
La mayoría de tortugas marinas encontradas están en estado de descomposición. pic.twitter.com/rMtbTQk45H— MARN El Salvador (@MARN_SV) November 2, 2017
A similar incident occurred in 2013, when hundreds of dead sea turtles were found dead off El Salvador's coast between September and October.
Authorities at the time attributed the cause to Toxic algae eaten by the turtles.
The WWF says that “many species of sea turtles, freshwater turtles, crocodiles, iguanas, snakes, caimans and alligators” can be found utilising the area’s mangrove ecosystems.
The say the “destruction and alteration of mangrove areas are the biggest threat to this ecoregion”.
“The trees and other portions of the habitat are being destroyed and altered for tourism development, expansion of population centers, clearing for agriculture, overgrazing and construction of salt production ponds,” they add.