Heartbreaking photo reveals baby turtle’s cause of death

Over the years, we have tried to cut down on our use of plastic. We’ve been told it’s bad for the environment, not only for future generations, but for wildlife that have no choice in the matter.

Single-use plastic is one of the biggest culprits.

For some, it’s hard to grasp just how much of an impact something that can be so useful like a plastic bag or a plastic fork can also be so dangerous.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center recently shared a heartbreaking photo of a baby turtle that died in their care.

The nature center, which is located in Boca Raton, Florida said the turtle was a “washback,” a turtle that has made it out into the ocean, but then is washed back to shore.

“We have had 121 in our facility,” Whitney Crowder, a sea turtle rehabilitation coordinator at the nature center, told the Sun Sentinel. “I can’t even count how many have passed. Dozens have died.”

Perhaps what’s most upsetting about the dozens that have died though, is that according to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, “100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts.”

The center shared an image of one of the baby turtles alongside 104 pieces of plastic that were found inside the turtle.

Not such a happy #TurtleTuesday this week. It's washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up…

Gepostet von Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Inc. am Dienstag, 1. Oktober 2019

“This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free,” they wrote.

As shocking as it is to believe all 104 pieces came from the intestinal tract of a turtle that could fit in the palm of your hand, it’s true.

According to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, the turtles ingest the plastic, it gets stuck and causes them to go into septic shock.

Thankfully, there is a way to prevent this horrible scene from happening.

While it’s difficult, if not impossible to prevent washbacks, we can help improve their chances of survival by properly disposing of plastic, reducing how much single-use plastic we use, and picking up trash and putting it in the appropriate receptacle.

If you are tired of seeing marine life suffer because humans recklessly dispose of plastic and garbage, share this on Facebook. Maybe when people are presented with a heartbreaking photo, they will change their attitudes.

We can do better. We must do better.