WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A photo of a baby sea turtle that was found in Florida with 104 pieces of plastic in its belly went viral on Facebook this week.
- The loggerhead sea turtle died shortly after it was rescued due to the plastic waste inside its body, which was discovered during a necropsy.
- The Facebook post sparked outrage with many users calling the image “unbelievable” and depressing.
A baby loggerhead sea turtle that was washed ashore in Florida died shortly after it was rescued. During a necropsy, the turtle was found to have 104 pieces of plastic in its belly.
The animal was so small it “would fit in the palm of your hand.” It found alive near the coast of Boca Raton, Florida, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center wrote on Facebook. The coastal preservation and educational group shared a photo of the turtle laying next to the 104 colorful plastic bits found in its stomach. The Facebook post went viral.
The little creature died shortly after it was rescued, due to the sheer mass of man-made waste inside its body, Kristin Child, the environmental program coordinator for the center, told ABC News.
“It’s washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up along the coastline needing our help,” the group wrote on social media on Oct. 1.
“Unfortunately, not every washback survives. 100% of our washbacks that didn’t make it had plastic in their intestinal tracts. This turtle, which would fit in the palm of your hand, had eaten 104 pieces of plastic. This is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our oceans plastic free.”
The post sparked outrage in the comments section, with many calling the image “unbelievable” and heartbreaking.
On Oct. 8, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center again took to Facebook to say it was “amazed by the outpouring of support for last week’s not-so-happy #TurtleTuesday post” and thankful the tale has been shared “around the world.”
“Micro-plastics are having a devastating effect on young sea turtles,” the group wrote. “We feel it is safe to assume that plastic debris is now found in almost every young sea turtle. While some turtles die from impaction, we also find plastic in stronger turtles expected to be released.”
“It’s encouraging to see how many people want to help with OUR plastic crisis,” it continued. “Together, we can change the course of our story by starting to eliminate single-use plastics from our daily lives.”