A baby loggerhead sea turtle was found dead in Boca Raton, Florida, with over 100 plastic materials in its stomach.
The baby was found washed up, but unfortunately, it passed away minutes after it was found.
Earlier this week, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center shared a picture of the baby turtle lying next to the plastic materials that were found inside it.
Not such a happy #TurtleTuesday this week. It's washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up…
The post went viral after it was posted.
Emily Mirowski, a sea turtle rehabilitation assistant at the center, examined the turtle before it passed away.
Emily said, “It was weak and emaciated. I could just tell it wasn’t doing well.”
Emily dissected the turtle and found out that its stomach was full of plastic.
Emily said they found balloons, bottle labels, and a number of other plastic materials inside the stomach of the turtle.
Emily added, “It was really heartbreaking. But it’s something we’ve seen for several years and we’re just glad people are finally seeing this image and hopefully it’s raising awareness.”
Turtles end up eating plastic because plastic looks like jellyfishes.
Emily said Turtles that are suffering from malnutrition due to plastic consumption are so common at their center.
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center has a cooler in front of their building so residents can safely drop the turtles off for rehabilitation.
Emily said only some of the turtles survive, and most of the turtles that are dropped do not.
Emily said dozens of washbacks dropped off at the center have died since the washback season started again.
Emily said every turtle that was dropped off at the center ingested plastic.
Emily said, “The issue is that with all the plastic in the oceans, that’s where the plastic sticks. All the microplastics stick to the seaweed, and it looks like food to the baby turtles.”
When turtles ingest plastic, they feel that they are full.
As a result of this feeling, the turtles do not eat or receive proper nutrition.
Emily said when the turtles are dropped off at their center, the turtles are already emaciated and weak.
Emily added, “We give them a small amount of fluids every day to get them hydrated. Then we hope they’ll pass the plastic naturally. The important thing is getting them hydrated to get their appetite back.”
She continued, “We have to reduce plastic use as much as possible. Not just recycling, but eliminating plastic out of daily use. Every piece of plastic that’s ever been made is still out there. It never goes away, it just breaks down to smaller pieces.”
The plastic problem is not going to stop until people take action.
To see fewer deaths of marine animals caused by plastic, stop buying plastic and if you do, dispose them properly.