Science

Turtle rescued from a fishing net in Argentina has 26 straws worth of plastic in its FAECES


TWENTY-SIX straws worth of plastic found in the faeces of a green turtle that was saved in Argentina after becoming entangled in a fishing net

  • Green turtle became trapped in a fisherman’s net off the Argentine coast  
  • Fisherman saved the creature before taking it to a nearby specialist aquarium  
  • X-ray images revealed the animal’s digestive tract was clogged up with plastic 
  • The turtle received treatment hand has been excreting plastic in its faeces  

A beleaguered turtle saved from almost certain death in a fishing net has been found to have large quantities of plastic in its excrement. 

The green turtle became hopelessly entangled in a fisherman’s net off the coast of Buenos Aires, Argentina, before being freed. 

Inspection by vets at a nearby specialist institute revealed significant amounts of plastic in the animal’s digestive tract and faeces. 

Vets say the poorly animal has so far expelled almost half an ounce (13 grams) of plastic from its body, equivalent to 26 straws, four plastic cups or 2.5 credit cards. 

A green turtle became hopelessly entangled in a fisherman's net off the coast of Buenos Aires, Argentina, before being freed and taken for professional treatment

A green turtle became hopelessly entangled in a fisherman’s net off the coast of Buenos Aires, Argentina, before being freed and taken for professional treatment 

Vets say the turtle has so far expelled almost half an ounce (13 grams) of plastic (pictured) from its body in its faeces, with more expected in the coming days

Vets say the turtle has so far expelled almost half an ounce (13 grams) of plastic (pictured) from its body in its faeces, with more expected in the coming days

Ignacio Pena, a veterinarian at Mundo Marin, took X-ray mages of the marine animal's innards to see what was causing it to behave unusually and found plastic clogging the digestive tract

Ignacio Pena, a veterinarian at Mundo Marin, took X-ray mages of the marine animal’s innards to see what was causing it to behave unusually and found plastic clogging the digestive tract 

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Roberto Ubieta, a fisherman from the coastal town of San Clemente in the province of Buenos Aires, saved the turtle after finding it trapped in his fishing nets.

Mr Ubieta said he took it to the Mundo Marino marine foundation for treatment after the animal appeared unwell.

According to a spokesperson for the aquarium, the turtle repeatedly defecated plastic waste after admission, including chunks of plastic, nylon bags and wire. 

Roberto Ubieta, a fisherman from the coastal town of San Clemente in the province of Buenos Aires, saved the turtle after finding it trapped in his fishing nets. He found another turtle two weeks ago in his nets which had unfortunately died

Roberto Ubieta, a fisherman from the coastal town of San Clemente in the province of Buenos Aires, saved the turtle after finding it trapped in his fishing nets. He found another turtle two weeks ago in his nets which had unfortunately died 

Half an ounce (13 grams) of plastic was found in the animal's faeces which is equivalent to 26 straws, four plastic cups or 2.5 credit cards

Half an ounce (13 grams) of plastic was found in the animal’s faeces which is equivalent to 26 straws, four plastic cups or 2.5 credit cards

Vets treating the turtle say it is on course to make a full recovery and is responding well to treatment after 'eating greens, especially salad and algae'

Vets treating the turtle say it is on course to make a full recovery and is responding well to treatment after ‘eating greens, especially salad and algae’

The turtle is fortunate to have been found and treated before it died from either being trapped or the plastic in its system. On January 12, the same fisherman found a dead turtle which he brought to the centre

The turtle is fortunate to have been found and treated before it died from either being trapped or the plastic in its system. On January 12, the same fisherman found a dead turtle which he brought to the centre

Ignacio Pena, a veterinarian at Mundo Marin, took X-ray mages of the marine animal’s innards to see what was causing it to behave unusually.

It was then that the presence of large amounts of plastic clogging up the digestive tract was discovered. 

Mr Pena said the turtle is on course to make a full recovery and is responding well to treatment. 

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He said: ‘Today, the turtle is eating greens, especially salad and algae. It seems to have a good attitude, so it is recovering well.’

Mundo Marino said that it was not the first time a turtle affected by plastic had been taken to the aquarium for treatment after eating plastic. 

On January 12, the same fisherman found a dead turtle which he brought to the centre.

When vets opened up the large reptile, they found a large amount of plastic waste in its digestive system, which may have contributed to its death. 

HOW DOES PLASTIC KILL TURTLES?

Sea turtles love in the ocean and fed on greens and algae floating in the waters. 

Unfortunately, many pieces of litter discarded by humans pollute these waters and resemble food. 

The sea turtle mistake them for nutritional sources and consume them. 

This plastic then enters their digestive tract and causes havoc to the animal’s innards. 

A study in 2018 found eating a single piece of plastic increases the turtles chance of death. 

Researchers found there it caused a one in five chance of death – rising to 50 per cent for 14 pieces.

Turtles have a digestive tract which means they are physically incapable of regurgitation. Once something has been eaten, it stays in the animal unless it can be defecated. 

Once inside the animal, if a piece of plastic covers an organ or blocks a key canal, it can create a fatal blockage.

Plastic blockages stopping the passing of food or faeces can kill turtles, but harder pieces can also inflict fatal internal injuries.

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