Thai vets pull discarded plastic bag from a green turtle’s backside
Turtley gross! Thai vets pull a 12-inch strand of discarded plastic bag from a green turtle’s backside that it mistook for foodFootage shows a foot-long piece of soft plastic being pulled from a green turtleOcean rubbish stuck inside the turtle would have eventually caused it to dieIt’s likely herbivorous species of turtle mistook the plastic bag for marine grassBy Jonathan Chadwick For Mailonline Published: 09:21 EDT, 15 May 2020 | Updated: 10:48 EDT, 15 May 2020 A turtle is recovering after a 12-inch-long (30cm) long piece of plastic pollution was extracted from its intestines and pulled out of its backside. The green sea turtle was found struggling to walk after being washed ashore in Rayong, eastern Thailand, on May 10. Locals contacted the rescue service who tool the creature to the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center in Bangkok.Eye-watering footage shows a veterinarian slowly pulling the thin strip of plastic bag out of the poor creature’s behind. Scroll down for video A shot of the vets pulling the length of plastic pollution from turtle’s backside in the disturbing footage The creature appears distressed as the plastic is gently extracted from its cloaca, its posterior orifice used for defecation, reproduction and even a process called ‘cloacal respiration’ for disposing of carbon dioxide. THE GREEN TURTLE The green turtle is one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore among the different species. Green turtles are in fact named for the greenish color of their cartilage and fat, not their shells. Green turtles are found mainly in tropical and subtropical waters. Like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched.Classified as endangered, green turtles are threatened by over-harvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites.Source: WFF The plastic bag had been affecting the turtle’s digestion, causing it to become constipated. The veterinarian said the extraneous rubbish stuck inside the turtle would have eventually caused it to die had it not been removed. ‘The plastic garbage that people throw out washes into the seas, where it becomes highly dangerous for the animals,’ he said. ‘They eat the the plastic without knowing that it is not edible then it slowly kills them.’ Unlike other sea turtles, the green sea turtle is predominantly herbivorous and feeds on algae or marine grasses. It’s possible that the unfortunate creature mistook the foot-long piece of garbage for an extra big morsel of sea grass. The turtle is being nursed back to health and rehabilitated before staff release it back into the ocean. Plastic garbage as Rayong beach, eastern Thailand. The green sea turtle was found struggling to walk after being washed ashore in Rayong on May 10.The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), which inhabits warm coastal waters around the world, is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN red list, the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It is now protected from exploitation in many Asian countries after historically being captured and killed for its meat. However, the species is still threatened by fishing nets, harvesting of eggs and a loss of habitat, as well as the substantial presence of plastic in our oceans. Between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, according to figures published in the journal Science. Green turtles are threatened by overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sitesAccording to a more recent study, turtles eat plastic waste in the ocean because it ends up smelling like food thanks to an algae coating — leading to the animals clogging up their insides. Ocean plastics in the ocean trap microbes and algae, which break down releasing a food-like odour, accordinfg to US experts writing in Current Biology.A 2018 report published in Scientific Reports found that there was 20 per cent chance of death for a turtle who ingested just one piece of plastic – a figure that rises to 50 per cent if they ingested 14 pieces.HOW DOES PLASTIC KILL TURTLES?Sea turtles live in the ocean and feed on vegetation and algae floating in the waters. Unfortunately, many pieces of litter discarded by humans pollute these waters and resemble food. The sea turtles mistake them for nutrition 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.