By Josh Saunders
A turtle has been released after it was captured on film defecating plastic in shocking moments that could have killed it.
The juvenile green turtle was rescued after being caught in fishing nets nearly two weeks ago (April 30) in Sam Clemente, Argentina.
Once admitted to Mundo Marino Foundation, vets were concerned over the reptile’s low weight, but blood work revealed nothing.
Hours later the sick turtle began to defecate a large amount of rubbish nearly the same as her body length.
The lucky sea creature was fortunate not to have contracted an infection from eating the man-made garbage, which can prove deadly.
It’s likely that the turtle confused floating plastic and rubbish for its natural food source jelly fish or gelatinous fauna.
After further tests and observation, she was released this week (May 6) and eagerly paddled out to be reunited with the sea once more.
After the release the organisation warned how plastic consumption and disposal is destroying animals’ ecosystem.
Of the 24 turtles rescued by the Marino Mundo Foundation this year a shocking 11 of them, more than 45%, defecated plastic.
Juan Pablo Loureiro, veterinarian of Mundo Marino Educational Park, said: “It is very disturbing to find garbage of this type within the digestive system of a sea turtle.
“Keep in mind that the accumulation of garbage generates a sense of false satiety that decreases the intake of food by these reptiles.
“This, clearly, weakens them and can condition their survival.”
Studies reveal that 80% of marine litter is plastic and between 5 – 13 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year from land-based origins – including littering.
Karina Álvarez, biologist and head of Conservation of the Mundo Marino Foundation, said: “The plastic in the turtles triggers a series of negative physiological consequences that can lead to death.
“Being ectothermic animals, this implies that their body temperature depends on the environment, so they need to migrate in search of the most suitable temperatures.
“People tend to be on our shores between spring and early fall when they begin the migration to warmer waters of Brazil. “
The Mundo Marino Foundation is a non-profit organisation concerned about conservation of the environment and fauna.
They disseminate information on environmental issues, as well as providing medical-veterinary treatment to marine organisms and more.
Hiram 37, operational coordinator of the veterinary team of Mundo Marino Educational Park, said: “I think it is important to highlight the role of institutions such as Mundo Marino and many others that are committed to the conservation of marine biodiversity and environmental education, by trying to be a solution to the current degradation of the ecosystems generated by human beings.”
For more information visit: www.mundomarino.com.ar