104 pieces of plastic found in stomach of baby sea turtle that died
A baby sea turtle that washed ashore in Florida and later died was found to have 104 pieces of plastic in its stomach upon examination.
The tiny creature, which "would fit in the palm of your hand," was recently found alive near the coast of Boca Raton, Fla., according to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, a coastal preservation and educational group.
Sadly, the turtle died shortly after it was rescued, due to the sheer mass of man-made waste inside its body, which was found during a necropsy, Kristin Child, the environmental program coordinator for the center, told ABC News.
A photo of the turtle laid out next to the 104 colorful plastic bits it consumed in its days-long lifetime has since gone viral on Facebook.
"It's washback season at Gumbo Limbo and weak, tiny turtles are washing up along the coastline needing our help," the group wrote 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 photo sparked anger in the comments section, with many calling the image "unbelievable" and heartbreaking.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center again took to Facebook on Oct. 8 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 organization 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."
Learn how you can support the nature center's efforts.