It appears turtles have a real gas problem.
Late last year a turtle dubbed Tina was discovered floating in the Maroochy River.
Despite being very much alive, the Turtle was suffering from ‘Floater Syndrome’ – a condition that inhibits the reptiles from diving for food or protection.
It turns out Tina hadn’t just eaten something a bit fishy, but had in fact been eating plastic.
Floater Syndrome commonly occurs when turtles mistake plastic pollution for food which becomes stuck in their digestive tract. The ingested plastic creates a build up of gas in the turtle’s system causing them to float.
But thanks to the staff at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital Tina was relieved of her gaseous build-up and was released at Point Cartwright in December of last year.
Now she’s unwittingly become the mascot for Unitywater’s ‘Get Back to Tap for Turtles’ competition.
Unitywater Spokesperson Rebecca Marshall said the purpose of ‘Get Back to Tap for Turtles’ was to educate children about the cycle of plastic waste and to promote sustainability.
“The campaign is all about encouraging people to drink tap water in place of buying disposable plastic bottles, which can inadvertently end up in our local waterways and harm turtles,” Ms Marshall said.
“A 600ml bottle of water will cost you about $3.00, and the same volume of tap water costs less than one cent. By getting back to tap, we can save money, the environment and our local turtles.”
The competition challenges schools and the wider community to drink tap water instead of bottled water for the month of August, as well as to host fundraising activities for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
Remarkably, Tina has now reappeared happy and healthy in Manly Harbour much to the delight of those who nursed her back to health.
“We assumed the tracker had failed and thought we wouldn’t be able to know where she was,” Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital Veterinarian Rebecca Millers said.
“Tina is one of about 200 turtles treated every year at the Wildlife Hospital and it is such a wonderful outcome to know she is still around after being treated and released back into her natural environment.”
For more information on the ‘Get Back to Tap for Turtles’ competition, visit unitywater.com/tap.