There’s nothing quite like seeing dolphins jumping or spotting whales in the ocean while at the beach. Whether you’re there for sport or sunbathing, the sand and sea offer many fascinating encounters.
Despite people’s amazement over the vast array of flora and fauna, they aren’t always the most careful about picking up after themselves and leaving the beach cleaner than they found it.
Plastic trash that finds its way into the ocean wreaks havoc on its inhabitants. You’ve probably seen the videos: birds and other critters with six-pack rings around their necks and sea turtles with plastic straws up their noses.
Turtles are one of the easiest-going creatures of the sea and though their shells protect them from many things, they’re still vulnerable. When they’re hatchlings they try to make it to the ocean and grow up without being snapped up and when they’re adults they can fall prey to whale attack.
But one thing their shells can’t protect them from is humans. Littering is a big issue, but so is being caught in fishing nets.
According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, over “250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured or killed by U.S. fishermen” every year. Almost every aspect of ocean fishing threatens them, whether it’s getting snagged on hooks or tangled in lines and nets, turtles have to be very careful.
Since they’re air-breathing animals, unlike fish, they can’t stay underwater without surfacing for air. When they get tangled in nets or other debris, serious problems can occur.
The few that end washed up on shore are generally exhausted and in dire straits, but thankfully there are still some good people out there looking for them.
While it’s generally best to leave the heroics to animal specialists who are trained to work with these animals, sometimes time is of the essence and the situation is dealt with by laypeople.
Take this group of men, for example. They stumbled upon a turtle who was hopelessly entangled in a large net. He seems to have been there for a few days but was still fighting to get free.
They had knives with them and worked hard to cut the turtle free.
When they cleared all the visible tangles, he still wasn’t taking off, so they flipped him over and realized the net was tangled all around its neck and flippers.
They freed the turtle and took him a little farther out into the water so he could propel himself back to safety — and hopefully stay far, far away from fishing nets in the future.
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