Concern for sea turtles off Australia’s Sunshine Beach: More and more reptiles are being attacked by the mysterious disease. Animal shells are attacked for unknown reasons and are more or less “eaten,” 9 News Broadcasting experts announced today. It is not yet fully known whether this condition is caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites or contaminants.
The disease was first detected last year in sea turtles in Hervey Bay, 300 kilometers north of Brisbane. Researchers and animal rights activists are currently trying to figure out what triggers it. In infected animals, parts of the corpus callosum become soft and fluffy, and sometimes even the bones are exposed.
First documented in sea turtles
Kathy Downsent of Sunshine Coast University said this was the first time a mysterious disease had been documented in sea turtles. “The data we collect when our rescuers respond to stray calls and the health tests of turtles are essential to determine what happens and how turtles are affected by this disease,” he said.
Nutritional problems after a flood
Sea turtles in the region have also been affected by food shortages following the recent catastrophic east coast floods. Downsend said sediment washed from rivers and streams during heavy rains can crush sea grass beds, which can significantly affect the quality and quantity of turtles’ main food source.
Sea turtles weigh hundreds of kilograms and can live up to 100 years, according to the Turtle Foundation. Six species live in Queensland waters. Everyone is considered threatened.
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