jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2011

Rare virus complicates the survival of sea turtles in Australia

These turtles capable of traveling 2,600 kilometers in migration periods, living in several areas of northern Australia, including the protected Great Barrier Reef, one of the largest marine reserves in the world. 

A virus that causes tumors decimated the population of green turtles of the Great Barrier Reef in northern Australia, where their livelihoods are threatened by starvation and environmental degradation of their habitat.

Green turtles (Chelonia mydas), animals that populated the Earth more than a hundred million years and represented in the animated film "Finding Nemo" have been internationally recognized as endangered species in their natural habitat, the tropical seas and subtropics

A threat as the disappearance of food, progressive water pollution, disease, urban development in the Australian coast and the use of nets by fishermen to fish, now joins stress.
The experts identified seven years ago that the new enemy of the green turtle is a condition called fibropapillomatosis a herpevirus that causes tumors in the surface of the animal and often on the inside, said Ellen Ariel, a researcher at James Cook University.
Some turtles affected by this disease survive for some time if the tumors are outdoors, but they cause loss of vision and make it increasingly difficult the animal to find food or escape predators.
Therefore, scientists believe that this disease "is caused by environmental stress and sick turtles apparently many are located in specific areas," he said Ariel, by insisting that the challenge for scientists is to determine the origin of this disease.
This year there have been Australia's northeast heavy flooding and the onslaught of Cyclone Yasi, and "sadly" these disasters "have claimed many victims among green turtles," said Executive Director of the Australian representative of World Wildlife Fund Dermot O'Gorman.
Under these conditions, sick turtles do not have the energy to find food and die.

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