Warning: Distrurbing video images may break your heart!
By now, more than 30 million people have seen the disturbing 8-minute viral video of the sea turtle with a stream of blood draining from his nostril, as two researchers work to extract a 4-inch plastic straw.
The plastic was lodged in the turtle’s nasal cavity, reaching down into his throat, inhibiting his breathing and sense of smell—a turtle’s most important tool for finding food. It was no doubt messing with the turtle’s orientation and migration, and possibly even hindering his ability to find a mate.
“He might have also had trouble eating,” said Christine Figgener, a PhD student at Texas A&M University and a sea turtle expert, who was on the team that found the distressed creature and gave him aid. “Imagine you are regurgitating a hard spaghetti—for example while laughing—which ends up in your nose and gets stuck.”
Figgener and fellow researcher Dr. Nathan J. Robinson aren’t sure how long the sea turtle was swimming around with that thing in his nose. “It didn’t look super new, but who knows.
“We have been talking about the detrimental effects of straws for years, but seeing that video, as horrible as it was, is what we needed to wake people up,” Figgener said in an interview with Plastic Free Times, two months after the video was first posted on YouTube.