A new viral video shows humans rescuing a sea turtle from incredible pain.
Sea turtles are especially susceptible to pollution, since they tend to follow human waste that makes its way to the ocean. The reason? They're interested in the plastic bags, which look quite a bit like jellyfish, a common prey.
This image shows the similarities; to a turtle, they look identical.
Sadly, this draws sea turtles to big "islands" of pollution, where they're injured or killed by plastic waste.
Of course, plastic bags are a significant concern, but they're not the only threat. In this video, rescuers pulled up a sea turtle that was clearly having trouble breathing.
They gradually work pliers into its nose to pull out an obstruction, and it's not for the feint of heart. Gradually, they work out a plastic straw—apparently inhaled by the turtle at some point over the past several weeks.
If they'd left the sea turtle alone, it probably would have developed an infection and died. Fortunately, they were able to draw out the straw, saving it from intense agony. Here's the full video; we'll warn you that it's a difficult watch.
Sadly, this isn't the only sea turtle video we've seen recently.
Rescue videos are fairly common, mainly because sea turtles are so affected by pollution. Unfortunately, many turtles don't get happy endings.
This video shows a sea turtle who had become entangled in a net at some point in the distant past. His skin had started to heal over the rope, but as he grew, the net became a noose, gradually preventing him from breathing normally.
The good news is that, like the other sea turtle, this guy survived. He even seems a little grateful at the end of the clip, although we doubt that reptiles have the ability to feel gratitude. We're sure that he knows that there's something different.
The rescuers clean the wound with iodine, then throw him back into the water.
It's a pleasant ending, but the core problem—human pollution—isn't going anywhere. If we want to see fewer videos like these, we need to improve the way that we handle our trash, and when possible, avoid plastic straws, bags, and other products.
In the meantime, we'll look at the bright side: there are plenty of wonderful people out there, working to help these wonderful animals. Here's one more video of another rescue effort.