HOME

NEWS

CHARITIES

VOLUNTEER

ACTION CENTER

ADD CHARITY

CONTACT

SUPPORT

World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
WWF links pollution to increase in diseased turtles

By Timothy McDonald, ABC Online

967 days ago   Article ID# 1416376
Original URL

 

World Wildlife Fund

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (ABC Online) - The World Wildlife Fund says that pollution might be to blame for a dramatic increase in the number of turtles with a debilitating form of the herpes virus.

The virus causes large tumours that may cause blindness, immobility, and the obstruction of internal organs among green turtles.

The illness is much more common near Bowen in North Queensland than it is elsewhere and the fund says runoff from the area's rivers may play a role.

Nick Heath from the World Wildlife Fund told Timothy McDonald that this is a significant problem for a turtle population that's already under pressure.

NICK HEATH: It's an ugly one. We are finding turtles along the coast but certainly in hot spots that have these huge tumours and growths. They're on their heads, they're on their back, they're in their stomach. It hurts them, it incapacitates them in certain ways.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: How does it incapacitate them?

NICK HEATH: It can grow, you know, in ways that cover its mouth, you know, making it harder to feed. It can grow near its reproductive organs. So it may not be a killer blow but these animals are under threat from cumulative pressures and this is just another thing that they have to deal with which reduces their resilience.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Do we have any sense of what might be causing the sudden increase in this disease?

NICK HEATH: Yes, this disease is popping up in other turtles around the world and there could be some correlation with nutrient fertilisers and other kinds of nitrogen pollution. The place that we're picking up a lot of the disease in Queensland is up near Bowen. The area near Bowen does receive a fair bit of flood plume pollution from agriculture, although it's fair to say the jury is still out and WWF is working with a number of Indigenous partners on the ground to conduct research.

We're sort of going out there with a sort of turtle rodeo style project, catching the turtles, making samples, releasing them unharmed, alive, and hopefully that research over the next couple of years will pinpoint the exact cause.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: So the operating theory is that the pollution might cause the animal to become weakened in some way which might make them more susceptible to a virus that might be fairly common anyway.

NICK HEATH: I think that's right. Why the pollution is a problem for these animals is that it blocks out the light to its main food source, being coastal seagrasses. I'm not sure whether you're aware but the coastal seagrass habitats of Queensland in many places have just been wiped out from the floods over the last 12 months.

The floods are full of these agricultural pollutants, the agriculture is responsible for up to 90 per cent of the pollution that gets into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area and it just blocks out the light. The seagrass can't photosynthesise and so it just dies off and that means the turtles are not having the food source they normally get and they lose condition and that's when they're vulnerable to these sorts of diseases.

TIMOTHY MCDONALD: Last year was a rather extraordinary flood year. Are you hopeful that perhaps this might not be an issue in a few years given that no every year is going to be like last year?

NICK HEATH: Last year was a bad year but unfortunately for these animals, every year is a bad year. The flooding may go up and down, but there are normally still floods in North Queensland and this pollution issue is happening each and every year.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Nick Heath from the World Wildlife Fund speaking to Tim McDonald.

Copyright 2014 ABC Online   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 967 days ago   Article ID# 1416376

World Wildlife Fund    View Charity Profile    Visit Website

More World Wildlife Fund News

New trade regulations for greater protection to endangered sharks

5 days ago From Times of India 

NEW DELHI, INDIA - Canadian cable partners include CHCH, CHECK, AMI, Gusto TV, ... of the cancer charity Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) Canada, said nearly ...

Black bear sighting in Vietnam indicates conservation success

45 days ago From Wildlife Extra News 

HEREFORD, U K - Lymphoma to be exact. "I started rubbing her neck and I felt awful lumps," recalled McGee. Pearl may have a fighting chance to survive if she is treated ...

WWF awards Tanzania for conservation of wildlife resources

58 days ago From Shanghai Daily 

SHANGHAI, CHINA - “It creates problems for the DA's office, it creates problems for the court-appointed attorneys for the children and the parents and it creates problems ...

Officials Alarmed Following Dip in Mozambique Elephant Population

79 days ago From WPRO  

EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND - (MAPUTO, Mozambique) -- Officials from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are asking for "urgent" international action Thursday following the release of ...

WWF to help Nepal police contain wildlife crimes

90 days ago From myrepublica.com 

KATHMANDU, NEPAL - The event is the annual fundraiser for the Child Care Resource Center. Through the course of the evening, event-goers were treated to food, drink and ...

Go to page:   1    2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next >> 

<< Return To Animal News

Action Center

Tibet's glaciers at their warmest in 2,000 years: Report

Action: Climate Change

The Tibetan plateau, whose glaciers supply water to hundreds of millions of people in Asia, were warmer over the past 50 year ...

Malayan tiger population plunges to just 250-340 individuals

Action: Wildlife Conservation

Malaysia is on the edge of losing its tigers, and the world is one step nearer to losing another tiger subspecies: the Malaya ...

Brazil's planned Tapajós dams would increase Amazon deforestation by 1M ha

Action: Stop Deforestation

A plan to build a dozen dams in the Tapajós river basin would drive the loss of an additional 950,000 hectares of rainforest ...

99 per cent of Sweden's waste is now reused

Action: Stop Pollution

Around 99 per cent of Sweden's garbage is now recycled and the country is so efficient at managing waste they are importing i ...

Japan leads opposition to establishing marine sanctuary for whales

Action: Save Our Oceans

The fate of a proposed 50m sq miles sanctuary for migratory whales was hanging in the balance on Monday night after objection ...

View All Actions >>

 

 

Charities

News

Follow Us

Support

Find A Charity

Action Center

World

Community

Facebook

Twitter Support

Contact

Volunteer

Add A Site

Environment

Animals

Google+

Privacy Policy

Copyright

 

 

Health

Celebrity

Terms of Service

Copyright © The Charity Vault All rights reserved.