Fri 14 Jul 2006
Two dead turtles, guts choked with marine rubbish (Australia)
Category : coastalcleanup
"Turtles choked with marine rubbish." University of Queensland News Online, 12 Jul 2006.
A recent spate of small turtles washing up on Australia's eastern shores has highlighted concerns about marine debris by scientists and animal welfare groups.
Two turtles, one found on North Stradbroke Island in Queensland and a second found at Fingal Head NSW have triggered alarm bells. Both animals were around 20cm long and died with guts choked with marine rubbish.
"The first turtle was a tiny 22 cm green turtle brought into The University of Queensland's Moreton Bay Research Station on North Stradbroke Island for care," Station Education Officer Dr Kathy Townsend said.
"The emaciated immature female was extremely weak and severely dehydrated and was suffering from floating syndrome which is where food trapped by foreign material starts to decompose, leaking gases into the body cavity and causing the animal to float.
"After dressing the turtle's wounds and placing her on a drip, we kept her under observation over night. Unfortunately, she succumbed to her illness and died the next morning."
A necropsy (autopsy) was performed on the turtle and discovered that her gut was choked with decomposing seagrass and marine rubbish.
"Bits of plastic shopping bags, black plastic rubbish bag, parts of plastic bottle tops, plastic thread, party balloons - and even a bit of a flip flop (thongs) were found lodged in the animal's gut," Dr Townsend said.
"Over 40 individual pieces of rubbish were accounted for, the majority of it plastic-based. "The final cause of death was identified as gut impaction and septicaemia caused by the marine rubbish."
A week later a slightly smaller turtle (19cm shell length) was treated by the Australian Seabird Rescue Wildlife Link Centre, at Ballina, NSW.
Lance Ferris, the Centre's Director and long term wildlife advocate, said this turtle also died from the consumption of marine rubbish. "We found over 70 pieces of plastic and small bits of fishing line in its gut," he said.
"Turtles that are between 5 and 25cm shell length disappear from our view in a period known as their 'lost years' where they are rarely seen close to shore. These juvenile turtles feed on jellyfish and squid found in the great ocean currents. The plastic that these animals would have consumed would have been located in the open ocean."
Craig Bohm, Campaign Coordinator with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said the two turtles highlighted the impact of human rubbish has spread beyond the shores. "Animals such as these juvenile turtles go for years without seeing land, yet they too are being affected by human rubbish," he said.
Dr Townsend said that according to advice from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, there were many things people could do in their chomes, at the shore and on their boats to reduce the impact of rubbish on marine life.
- In homes - avoid using plastic bags, ask for a box and recycle wherever possible.
- On the shore - pick up rubbish and don't use bay and beachside rubbish bins if they are already overfull.
- Onboard - stow rubbish carefully and don't let it blow over the side. Be particularly careful with fishing bait bags and other plastic items.
Note: If you feel motivated to do something about it, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is looking for volunteer coordinators!
Fri 14 Jul 2006
Sat 15 Jul 2006: 3pm - "Dolphins, Turtles and Otters"
Category : marine
Woodlands Regional Library, 3.00pm, Sat 15 Jul 2006. "Dolphins, Turtles, Otters and Other Secrets of Singapore!"
"Trekking in the mangroves, I spied a Smooth otter swimming silently through a river channel. Resting on sand ledge, a crocodile took in the warm rays of the sun. Dolphins burst through the waves,sea cows grazed the sea grass offshore and turtle hatchlings struggled over sand to reach the waves and safety of the sea."
Join zoologist N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman, Research Officer, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research as he reveals these unbelievable scenes and more secrets of Singapore's marine life.
Free admission and no registration is required. Organised by Eco@Woodlands, National Library Board. Contact: National Library at 6332 3255
Fri 14 Jul 2006
The Kranji Countryside has been organised!
Category : news
The Jan 2005 - Kranji Countryside Association was initiated by Ten "Farmpreneurs" to 'promote an awareness and appreciation of Singapore's countryside and natural environment.'
'Besides the alternative venue for recreational and educational purposes, KCA hopes to help Singapore farmers to increase production of some of our own high quality food especially eggs, fish, milk, fruits and vegetables.'
01 Jul 2006 - KCA has now launched the Kranji Express - and it runs from Kranji MRT hourly between 8am to 6pm, at a round trip fare of $2 for adults and $1 for children. See schedule.
So hop over for a look to kranjicountryside.com