Our oceans, seas and marine life are facing huge environmental issues from climate change, ocean acidification, pollution (especially plastics), over fishing and diseases.
One of my favourite marine animals is the turtle. There are many varieties of sea turtles and they can be found throughout different waters around the world. Turtles often get tangled in disused fishing lines, shark nets and plastics causing them to perish from drowning or getting infections from cuts made by the things they get tangled up in. Turtles are now also facing another problem and that is a deadly virus.
Researchers have found a virus called fibropapilloma (FP) which is a debilitating disease caused by a herpes virus affecting turtles. The turtles that become infected with the virus get tumours. These tumours can affect their internal organs and their vision which makes it difficult for them to feed and to avoid being attacked by predators. There is a high incidence of infection in turtles in north QLD and scientists are working hard to try and find the cause of the virus but not enough is known as yet.
The biggest threat to turtles and in particular the Green Turtle is climate change.
(Artwork by - Felicity Palmateer)
The green turtle is in danger of becoming extinct because the sand where they lay their eggs is too warm. The warming of the sand is caused by an increase in temperature due to climate change. The temperature of the sand where the eggs are laid determines the sex of the turtles born. The hotter the sand is means more females are born. If only females are being born there is no chance for the species to continue and scientist predict that by 2070 the population of Green Turtles will be all female.
How can we help turtles and other marine animals? We need to reduce consumption to avoid waste ending up in our water ways, we need to support sustainable fishing, we need to become more educated on how to reduce our own individual footprint on the planet to ensure our natural world has opportunities to thrive for the sake of the planet, for my generation and for future generations.