"This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free," writes staff at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

By Kate Hogan
October 04, 2019 05:13 PM
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Inc.

In the words of staff at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, “Not such a happy #TurtleTuesday.”

On Tuesday, staff from the Boca Raton, Florida-based marine life center posted a sad image on Facebook of a deceased baby sea turtle next to a staggering 104 pieces of plastic, which the animal had consumed.

“It’s washback season at Gumbo Limdo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up along the coastline needing our help,” staff wrote. “Unfortunately not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts.”

“This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic,” the post continued. “This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free.”

 

This incident is just the latest in a disturbing trend of dead animals washing ashore with bellies full of plastic. This year along, a curvier beaked whale in the Philippines had 88 lbs. of plastic bags in its stomach, while a pregnant sperm whale in Sardinia had 48 lbs. of plastic in hers.

According to the BBC, 22,046 lbs. of plastic trash end up in the world’s oceans each year, killing hundreds of marine animals annually.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that Gumbo Limbo is the focus of an upcoming WLRN documentary, Troubled Waters: A Turtle’s Tale. The film focuses on the challenges sea turtles are facing — namely human dangers and climate change. According to the paper, experts interviewed for the documentary say that “almost 100 percent of baby sea turtles are found with bellies filled with plastics,” a troubling fact that can cause birth defects and even premature death.

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