Sea Turtle Hatchling Saved By Australian Zoo Defecated Plastic for Six Days After Rescue

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Tiny turtle pooed ‘pure plastic’ for six days after rescue from Sydney beach
Tiny turtle pooed ‘pure plastic’ for six days after rescue from Sydney beach

Taronga Conservation Society Australia

One of the Taronga Zoo's wildlife hospitals recently rescued a baby green sea turtle from a beach near Sydney, Australia, and later discovered that the hatchling had consumed a considerable amount of plastic.

Rescuers found the little turtle lying on its back in a rockpool at Tamarama Beach, missing a flipper and with a hole in its shell, according to the Guardian.

While the missing flipper appeared to be the most serious issue, the biggest concern was what was going on in the baby turtle's digestive tract.

"It started to defecate, and it defecated plastic for six days," Taronga Zoo veterinary nurse Sarah Male told the Guardian about what happened when the hatchling arrived at the hospital. "No feces came out, just pure plastic."

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Tiny turtle pooed ‘pure plastic’ for six days after rescue from Sydney beach
Tiny turtle pooed ‘pure plastic’ for six days after rescue from Sydney beach

Taronga Conservation Society Australia;

"It was all different sizes, colors, and compositions," Male added. "Some were hard, some were sharp, and with some, you could tell the plastic had writing on it."

The veterinary nurse said that while what was in the hatchling's stomach may seem surprising, the harsh reality is that turtles worldwide are consuming plastic at alarming rates.

"This is all some of these poor little things are eating," Male explained. "There's so much plastic around they're just consuming it as their first initial food."

The Taronga Zoo posted a video on its Facebook page about the hatchling's journey toward recovery after it passed all that plastic.

"Although it took six days for the turtle to pass all of the plastic in its system, amazingly it survived and is now doing well," the zoo captioned the post. "Some of the fragments were very sharp and could have caused serious internal damage so the turtle is lucky to be alive."

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According to the National Ocean Service, scientists believe that about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean on a yearly basis. To help save turtles — especially hatchlings, whose size makes them particularly vulnerable — from the dangers of plastic pollution, it is essential that humans take action, Male said.

"If everybody just takes a little bit of their time to pick up a bit of rubbish — it doesn't have to be on the beach — then hopefully we can make a difference," she told the Guardian.