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Tossed trash takes toll on turtles

Published: 7:36PM Monday October 01, 2012 Source: ONE News

A spate of sick and dying turtles washing up on our shores has prompted a warning from marine experts - be careful what you throw into the ocean.

Rubbish in the sea is having a deadly effect on some endangered species, with Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium in Auckland battling to save the lives of several turtles.

Quarantine area curator AJ Christie said there has been an influx in turtles turning up at the aquarium recently.

"The more rubbish that we're dumping out there, it's just getting worse and worse for these guys.

"There's so much plastic floating around in the ocean, it's just scary and these animals are the consequence of it," says Christie.

Kelly Tarlton's has been caring for G7, a very sick juvenile Green Turtle, for two months now.

"He's in a very bad state," Christie said. "Unfortunately, it's not looking good for this guy."

The Kelly Tarlton's team has been carefully tube-feeding the turtle a mix of parafin and food in a bid to dislodge the life-threatening blockage of plastic inside him.

H5 - a young Hawksbill turtle - is another casualty of the same problem. Gases from a blockage in his stomach mean he still cannot sink below the water. However, the aquarium says his prognosis is encouraging.

In the tank next to H5, H4 is fully submerged, a sure sign his blockage is all but gone.

Kelly Tarlton's has cleared his stomach of a mass of plastic that included drinking straws and plastic bags.

The turtle team say there is one easy way to stop these endangered turtles from suffering needlessly.

"Look after your rubbish," says Christie. "Recycle where you can and just don't let it get into the sea - it's as simple as that."

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