Turtle found dead, suspected of having died after eating a balloon – NGO

A dead carcass of a young turtle was recovered from Maltese waters by the Armed Forces of Malta, with the turtle believed to have died from balloon ingestion.

Nature Trust – FEE Malta announced the sad news in a statement, again calling on the public to avoid the use of helium balloons, saying that if released they can potentially have a negative impact on wildlife such as birds and turtles.

“The NGO has been campaigning for 10 years against these balloons. Even biodegradable products are just as bad and should never be used. Both can be mistaken for food by birds and marine animals once they have fallen into the sea. Thousands of animals die each year from marine debris,” the NGO said.

The NGO said the AFM’s maritime section recovered a dead turtle from Maltese waters on Friday, and early signs indicate the cause of death was ingestion of one of these balloons.

“The turtle was a very young 3-year-old loggerhead turtle who may have assumed the ball was a jellyfish,” the Nature Trust said.

The carcass of the dead turtle was recovered by Nature Trust Malta’s Wildlife Rescue Unit and placed in a freezer for autopsy by Nature Trust vets.

“Loggerhead sea turtles are now an endangered species in the world. It is therefore sadder to see that this young turtle died due to human irresponsibility, thus never reaching adulthood and being able to reproduce,” Nature Trust said.

Nature Trust would like to thank AFM for their valuable work as well as ERA and Lottoland for supporting Wildlife Rescue in their work and for medicines and medical equipment.

Volunteers from the Nature Trust’s wildlife section this week began patrolling sandy beaches at night, looking for signs of turtle nesting. Anyone seeing turtles on our beaches is asked to report these sightings to the NGO hotline 9999 9505. This way the nest can be protected from predators and other dangers until the young hatch.