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Several sea turtles in Australia have been badly affected by a new mysterious illness, and their conditions have worsened due to the recent floods. This new mystery disease in marine turtles is apparently ‘eating away’ the sea turtle’s shell, which is a serious issue. The number of sick, stranded, dead, and starving sea turtles has been increasing every year on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.
Researchers and wildlife rescuers from the University of Sunshine Coast have partnered to deal with this problem. The researchers have observed a rise in the number of sick animals following the recent floods that affected the regions of NSW and southeast Queensland in 2022.
A new group has been formed to deal with this issue of the new mystery disease in marine turtles. The ‘Turtles in Trouble Rescue’ is the name of the group. Since the floods, they have been spotting numerous sea turtles either sick or stranded on the coast. Numerous sediments had washed up during the recent floods and had ended up suffocating the seagrass that the sea turtles depend on for food. Sea turtles generally spend the whole summer fattening up before winter begins. The recent floods have greatly impacted their diet, leading to the poor health of the sea turtles.
This unidentified disease in marine turtles makes their shell very soft and sponge-like; the disease can even expose the bare bone of the sea turtle. Researchers, wildlife rescuers, and experts are trying to understand the root cause of this new disease- they need to figure out if the illness is parasitic, viral, or other. Saving the stranded and sick turtles is a good conservational effort. However, the cause of the disease should be known to prevent the sea turtles from falling sick in the first place.