Yesterday a fisherman brought in a live sea turtle that had accidentally gotten caught in his net. Pictured at left is Solange Ngoouessono, the Gabonese manager of Mayumba national park, with Tim and the fisherman (in yellow). It’s great that he reported the turtle. Unfortunately it was covered in fibropapilloma tumors, which are now frequently seen in sea turtles worldwide. It had a tumor in each eye, which unfortunately will grow over the eyes until the turtle is blind. We took off several tumors from the flippers for analysis and took basic measurements. Faced with the choice of euthansia (which here means someone would have to cut it’s head off with an axe) or releasing it, we decided to put it back in the ocean. It will not survive long-term (the tumors will continue to spread all over it’s body and once it goes blind the turtle is likely to starve), but it is the beginning of the nesting season here and so hopefully she will lay a clutch of eggs. Once we brought her down to the ocean she sped off which was great, because she had been quite lethargic after probably hours caught in a net, hours of sitting in a truck and then having tumors sliced off.
Click here for more information on fibropapilloma tumors.