Sea turtle tumors tell tale of pollution

sea turtle tumors

sea turtle tumors

An unfortunate shocking story in the Sun Sentinel in Florida reports that green sea turtles are showing signs of stress from pollution.  The pollution and environmental stress is suppressing their immune systems, leaving them susceptible to a viral infection causing tumors.  The tumors can grow on their eyes blocking their vision and their necks and flippers effecting mobility.

The tumors, from a virus called Fibropapiloma, were first  discovered and recorded in the 1930’s but little is known about the virus.  The Sun Sentinel article describes a laser removal treatment for the tumors.  One such facility is called Gumbo Limbo. “Gumbo Limbo is one of four facilities in the state that treats turtles with fibropapilloma tumors, thanks to a high-powered laser donated to the facility by the National Save the Sea Turtle Foundation, said Mike Zewe, development officer for the Friends of Gumbo Limbo.”

The article also states the degree of pollution in the water is directly proportionate to the number of sea turtles found with the tumors.  The pollution is believed to be caused mainly from agricultural runoff and sewage outflow.  Ironically, Broward county Florida is pushing to allow more sewage into the canal system.




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