Duffy’s True Story
Sadly what happened to Duffy is happening to turtles all around the world due to the increasing amounts of plastic in our oceans. Duffy was suffering from something called Floater’s Syndrome where the plastics she had eaten were stopping her from diving down under the water to eat – a bit like how armbands hold you at the surface of the water. She was stuck on the surface and was starving to death. Luckily turtles who are on the surface are more likely to be spotted by people out on boats and so are more likely to be rescued. Some towns have so many sick and injured turtles that they have built a hospital especially for turtles. One turtle hospital is called Reef HQ in Townsville, Australia and they rescue and look after lots of sick turtles every year.
The first thing they do is to build up the turtles strength before they can find out what is wrong with it. They keep each turtle separate in its own blue tank with a hosepipe providing constant clean water running over the top of the turtle. Here the turtles have to rest and are kept quiet and relaxed ready for their x-ray. The x-ray allows the vets to see if there is anything obviously wrong with the turtle. In lots of cases they see plastic caught in the turtle’s throat, stomach or intestines causing the blockage and making them feel very poorly. If the turtle is well enough the vets can operate and remove the plastic. The turtle then needs a long time to recover and build up their strength again. First they are put back in the blue tanks and eventually they will be strong enough to go into the main aquarium with the other sea creatures. Again they might be here for several months before they can be released back into their natural habitats. The whole process from the initial rescue to the release can take up to a year.