Plastic straw lodged inside turtle’s nostril removed by biologists; [Graphic Warning]

By  | 

A plastic straw measuring roughly 10-12 cm, which was lodged inside one of the nostrils of an endangered turtle, has been removed by a team of researchers providing yet another example of how dangerous plastic can be.

The straw was lodged inside one of the nostrils of an Olive Ridley turtle. The video shows how the team of marine biologists removed the straw using a pair of pliers on a Swiss army knife while the turtle was wincing in pain and bleeding.

The video was filmed by Christine Figgener, a field biologist with keen interest in conservation. From the video it is evident that the turtle was in pain while the straw was being removed, but the researchers have had a strong reason to perform the procedure there and then.

According to Figgener, they debated before deciding to remove the straw and it was a decision that they couldn’t avoid because they were in the ocean a few hours away from the coast. Further, they were several miles away from a vet and x-ray machines. And to top it off, they would have incurred a penalty if they would have removed the turtle as it was beyond their research permits.

Initially the researchers didn’t have a clue about the object lodged inside the nostril. They believed it was a fishing hook, and after pulling about a centimeter of the object, they contemplated on stopping the procedure. To inspect what it may be, they used a Swiss army knife to cut off the tip of the object and on looking closer realized that it was a plastic straw.

Once confirmed, they team continued with the procedure and despite the turtle being in pain, removed the whole straw.

“The bleeding stopped pretty much immediately after the removal of the straw,” said Ms Figgener. “He did very obviously not enjoy the procedure very much, but we hope that he is now able to breathe more freely.”

Many believe that the procedure wasn’t necessary at all as the turtle was in pain only after the researchers initiated the procedure.

Dr Figgener defended their act stating that the procedure was necessary and reassure concerned viewers that everything was done properly. She added that the bleeding stopped soon after the straw was completely out.

“We disinifected the air passageway with iodine and kept the turtle for observation before releasing him back into the wild”, she said. “This video shows why plastic rubbish is detrimental to marine life.”