Darwin Sea Turtle Symposium examines animals’ deaths in harbour

Darwin Sea Turtle Symposium examines animals’ deaths in harbour TURTLES are mysteriously dying in Darwin Harbour and scientists don’t know why. The third Australia Sea Turtle Symposium recently wrapped up in Darwin, and researchers and scientists conducted necropsies, or dissections of dead turtles, on four turtles to learn the cause of death. Department of Land and Resource Management marine scientist Rachel Groom said there were a lot of common reasons sea turtles died, including being hit by boats or getting caught in fishing lines. “There’s not too much ingestion of plastics, which is a good thing,” Ms Groom said. Another common cause in the past 10 years is gut blockages, where the turtles become so constipated and bloated they are unable to dive deep enough to feed. “What we have found in some turtles is the blockage – it can be so hard, like cement, and around that wall the texture changes and it becomes inflamed and infected – but we don’t know what’s causing it,” Ms Groom said.

“It’s a big unknown.

“It’s something that we haven’t been able to relate to one particular incident but it has been in the last 10 years these sorts of occurrences have been occurring.”

The three-day symposium this year had a strong focus on sharing and exchanging ideas on conservation and management.

“It’s an opportunity to share some of the information on the major issues and research and ideas for improving conservation,” Ms Groom said.