It pooped plastic: Rescued sea turtles return to ocean in Argentina after detox

Two green turtles which were rescued after they became entangled in fishing nets are released back into the sea. PHOTO: REUTERS

BUENOS AIRES - Marine biologists in Argentina have returned two green turtles to the ocean who were rescued after they became entangled in fishing nets, with one of the pair of endangered creatures excreting plastic ingested from the sea.

The turtles spent a month in animal rehabilitation at the Fundacion Mundo Marino where scientists checked their swimming, helped with their diet and gave them a chance to detox from plastics.

They were returned to the sea on the beaches of San Clemente.

“The turtles arrived, they were put in pools and their swimming was measured to check it was normal,” said Ms Vanesa Traverso, a biologist at the foundation.

“They are herbivorous so we fed them algae and one of them began to defecate plastic. Luckily, it wasn’t too much. Some 96 per cent of the turtles that enter the centre defecate plastic.”

The green sea turtles, classified as endangered, underwent blood tests and even X-rays to check their digestive tracts and lungs.

Some previous ones had come to the centre and excreted up to 22 grams of garbage that had been ingested.

“One of them had a high level of white blood cells and some parameters that indicated a slight degree of anaemia,” said Ms Bianca Mancini, a veterinarian at the foundation.

“We treated it with a mix of antibiotics, a vitamin complex and iron.” REUTERS

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