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Sea turtle at center of theft probe in Aomori found dead

The green sea turtle thought to have been stolen is pictured in this photo provided by Aquarium Asamushi.

AOMORI -- A green sea turtle that went missing from an outdoor tank at an aquarium here last August, sparking a police theft investigation, was later found dead, it has been learned.

    Officials at Aquarium Asamushi in the city of Aomori said a worker noticed at about 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2016, that the turtle, which weighed about 15 kilograms and whose shell was around 50 centimeters long, was missing from an outdoor tank.

    The turtle was found dead on Sept. 15 by a worker cutting grass on a slope, about 100 meters away from the tank. There were reportedly signs that the turtle had walked around the area. Police suspect that someone removed it from its tank, and are continuing the theft investigation.

    A wire fence about 1.6 meters high stood around the perimeter of the tank, and officials say it is unlikely the turtle escaped by itself.

    The aquarium plans to install more security cameras, and have large turtles with shells measuring around 1 meter in length dry their shells in an outdoor pond.

    Green sea turtles are listed on the Ministry of the Environment's red list as a vulnerable species whose risk of extinction is increasing.

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