Global Warming Is Giving Countless Sea Turtles Tumors

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Two turtles in the sand in a beach in Hawaii

Image: Shutterstock/HurleySB

Global Warming Is Giving Countless Sea Turtles Tumors

For as long as we have been made aware of the issue of global warming, we have yet to be significantly and directly affected by it in our everyday lives. Sure, from time to time we may feel the gradual increase in the temperature around us, scoff and blame the earth’s ever-changing atmosphere. If you’re on the other side of the fence completely, you may even brush these things off as the earth changing as it’s supposed to and deny the theory of global warming in its entirety.

We now have more and more scientific research being focused on better understanding global warming and its effects on our earth. Numerous climate scientists looking at years worth of collected data all agree that the planet is warming. In fact, the average temperature of the earth has increased significantly throughout the past century alone. Increasing volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the constant burning of fossil fuels, as well as a number of dangerous daily human activities all across the globe, are believed to be the primary sources.

So what if I told you that global warming was responsible for putting a patient into a hospital with a clutter of tumors the size of golf balls, as well as a deadly form of herpes? Well that day has come, and patient zero happens to be a green sea turtle. The first documented case of a turtle with fibropapillomatosis was admitted to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Florida in the Florida Keys at the beginning of this year.

This virus is still so foreign that researches only know that it spreads like wildfire and, after extensive research on the virus itself, its potential causes point to agricultural runoff and global warming. What once was a very rare occurrence is now one that veterinarians and doctors at this hospital are seeing in abundance each week.

These turtles are so stricken with the illness that removing these large tumors from their bodies requires extensive and repetitive surgery, as the tumors range from areas on the neck and underbellies, to the eyes and mouth, blinding them or leaving them unable to eat or move their mouths. And this virus does not pick or choose, as the hospital sees cases of this on turtles as young as two years old. Sadly, if the tumors enter the internal organs such as the kidneys, there is simply no way to save these animals.

Due to the fact that the ocean is experiencing more and more warmth, wildlife such as these and many others are in constant danger of falling ill. With climate change, as well as the pollution entering the oceans, instances of fibropapillomatosis will surely continue to grow.

This deadly virus is just one of many untold stories of the effects of global warming. Doing your part to reduce the amount of global warming that we have is as easy as driving a cleaner vehicle or opting to ride a bike instead of driving, going greener in the home with appliances or even foods, and talking to others that you know about having them do the same. These turtles are just a blip on the radar as far as the reach that global warming has on the earth and it inhabitants. Reducing your carbon footprint is often an easy fix, and one with a much greater reach than you may realize.

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