Camera Records as They Pull Plastic Bag from Choking Sea Turtle's Throat


One doesn’t need to be an avid environmentalist to realize that we face some challenging problems on our planet. Just consider the smog and water pollution that bedevil large swathes of China.

Pundits have begun debating whether California’s recent wildfires are due to the mismanagement of forests. And it’s no secret that the Golden State has struggled to properly allocate water.

There’s another environmental issue we can all agree on: ocean trash. According to Ocean Conservancy, more than half of the plastic in the world’s oceans gets dumped there by China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, recently released footage and images poignantly illustrating that truth. They centered around a sea turtle named Bob.

The Independent reported that Bob was initially found on a beach in Struisbaai, South Africa’s southernmost point. When rescuers found him, they discovered a very ill turtle indeed.

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Bob couldn’t breathe. Initially, veterinarians suspected that he was suffering from pneumonia or some other kind of infection.

A scan showed something else entirely, though. Bob had a foreign body lodged inside him.

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Video released by Two Oceans showed the procedure that saved the turtle’s life. The veterinarians put an endoscope down Bob’s throat.

They then used it and some other surgical implements to draw a ragged looking length of some filthy material from Bob’s gullet. It turned out to be plastic.

That wasn’t the only man-made material inside the turtle. The vets also found remnants of balloons in his stomach.

The Huffington Post reported that Bob was in critical condition after the procedure. However, the veterinarians expected him to pull through just fine.

So why would a turtle choose to nosh on a piece of polyethylene rather than some seaweed? Well, the answer might surprise you.

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To a marine creature, a bit of plastic can end up looking a lot like plant matter. This is particularly after the plastic has been beaten up a bit and then gets viewed underwater.

Some experts indicate that approximately 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each and every year. Fortunately, there are people trying to do something about it.

Plastics News reported that a Netherlands-based nonprofit named Ocean Cleanup has been trying to sweep up the stuff. How? The group used “a 2,000-foot-long high density polyethylene boom with a polyester woven skirt attached to the underside to gather plastic from the surface to a depth of 10 feet.”

Think of it as a giant net. Only instead of trying to catch fish, the group was snagging trash.

Ocean Cleanup has been having some success, too. In the end, they plan to bring the junk back to the mainland so it can be recycled.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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