Taronga Zoo Rescued a Tiny Turtle with Stomach Full of Plastic
A tiny turtle rescued from Tamarama Beach in Sydney defecated only plastic for six days after mistakenly consuming it for food
The effects of plastic pollution on our seas and oceans, as well as marine life, are well known. Water creatures often mistake plastic for food, consequently, many die due to the other toxic impacts of plastic on their system. Recently, one such incident has been reported from Taronga zoo’s animal hospital. A team at the zoo managed to rescue a newborn green sea turtle. They saved the tiny turtle from Tamarama Beach in Sydney.
The small turtle has a hole in its shell, one of its four flippers is missing, and there was also a chip in one of its flippers. Besides the injuries, what was more shocking was that the turtle excreted only plastic for six days – no feces. It is obvious because the poor turtle considered plastic as food. Fortunately, the turtle excreted all the plastic out of his system and is now recovering well.
This tiny turtle arrived at Taronga Wildlife Hospital recently with a stomach full of plastic. We hope the NSW Plastic Action Plan will reduce the number of turtles admitted to us in the future. To support the vital work of our hospitals, please visit https://t.co/QCMerPsjYb pic.twitter.com/lJ92Ceu2jr
— Taronga Zoo (@tarongazoo) July 28, 2022
This newborn turtle is identified as a bagel with flippers and has recovered its health and currently weighs over 400g. While the turtle is in good condition now, the zoo caregivers may still take one year to return the turtle to the coast and into the wild seas.
As per the zoo’s hospital, hatchlings are often vulnerable to predators because of their tiny size. And, of course, the increasing plastic pollution is another issue for sea animals. While various states – like Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia, are taking stricter actions against single-use plastic, the major cause of the problem is hard to tackle.
Each year, over 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is being dumped into the oceans. The bulk of plastic is often collected along coastlines, left behind by fishing boats, and carried out to seas by water and air currents.
Around 38 million plastic pieces have been discovered across Henderson Island beach. However, the plastic pollution levels on Australia’s shore have decreased on average by 30 percent. This is due to the local government’s initiatives to decrease litter. But the plastic that’s still present in the oceans is a major threat to marine life.