Disease or Death Sentence?

By: Savannah W. Abby D. Andria C.

What's The Big Deal?

May 12th, 2016

The world is a unforgiving place for a sea turtle to live in, with trash, nets and the ever looming pollution threatening there environment sea turtles are at risk of being lost forever. Many species of sea turtles including the beautiful green sea turtle, loggerhead, and the leatherback are just a few that are endangered. Sea turtles have lived in the oceans of this world for around 110 million years, and are now being threatened by extinction.

Pollution on Population

What Have We Caused?

Pollution has impacted our oceans biodiversity by causing havoc for species such as coral reefs, whales, and even sea turtles. The sea turtle, however, has been found recently to be inflicted by a new disease. This disease is called fibropapillomas. It is a disease that currently has an unknown cause, however, research is pointing towards how it may be related to humans. Given that "FP has also been shown to have a strong correlation to polluted waters and is most often reported in warmer regions of the world." means that people have played a role through pollution." This is no new disease either, as for the first sightings of it were in the 1930's, however, it was more noticed in the 1950's; meaning pollution has been an issue linked to this epidemic and it has been around for years with no progress in stopping it. Recent studies have even shown from "between 1980-2005" "22.2 percent of dead or debilitated (I.e. Stranded) green turtles" had fibropapillomas tumors.

What is fibropapillomas?

Fibropapillomas is a disease that is created though pollution, "when pollution contaminates and kills aquatic plant and animal life, it also destroys feeding habitats for sea turtles. Oil spills and urban runoff of chemicals and fertilizers all contribute to water pollution. An estimated 36% of all marine pollution from oil comes through drains and rivers from cities." And why this disease matters is because it is fatal. Fatalities for sea turtles have been increasing as the disease when present will cause "tumors are present in or around a turtle’s mouth and eyes and can limit the turtle’s ability to find food.". Which is part of how the turtle with FP, or fibropapillomas, will eventually die. Tumors caused by FP can do as much as making eating or breathing hard, reproduction unsuccessful, potential eyesight problems or even blindness; which is part of why humans need to stop polluting.

This is why it has been strongly suggested we do something. This is why organization Keeper of the Ocean is to make a hotline to report and bring in turtles with the disease as so we can find out more on FP and so it can be beaten. This is why this organization is to turn to fining those who pollute in oceans or even those who cause light pollution at night which may disrupt breeding or hatching turtles, since both are highly important to the population of sea turtles these fines will ensure less people mess with the turtles and more people will be careful of these beautiful animals. Also the organization announced that it would be fighting to use those funds towards the healing and research of FP in sea turtles.

Works Cited

"Sea Turtles: Marine Pollution." Sea Turtle Conservancy. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. "Fibropapillomatosis | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center." Home | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016.

Turtles. n.d. .org. Web. <http://www.turtles.org/9742.jpg>.