Dead sea turtle caught in beach chair offers reminder for people to pick up after themselves

The endangered species was found with a beach chair caught around its neck. Credit: Facebook/Fort Morgan Share the Beach

WARNING: This post contains images that may be disturbing to some readers.

Beachgoers in Alabama are being told to pick up after themselves after a sea turtle was found dead caught in a chair.

In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, Fort Morgan Share the Beach notes the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was found with strings of a beach chair around its neck.

“This makes me so mad. How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up? It should just be common decency. I think I am going to print this out and carry it with me next time I have to ask,” the group administrator posted over the weekend.

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The turtle was found on the beach at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, ABC-affiliate WMBB reports, and the chair may have been in the water for a long period of time.

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“The chair was around its head when they found it. The chair had barnacles on it so had been in the water for a while. So much stuff left on the beach washes into the gulf — why we need something like ‘Leave Only Footprints,'” Debbie Harbin with Share the Beach Fort Morgan told the site.

The community reacts

On Facebook, beachgoers in the area expressed their concerns with both the incident but some of the other issues with the beach itself.

“My point is before we [go] blaming patrons at a certain beach, we should also realize that it is a vast ocean and that chair could have come from any one beach, boat… there is just no way to know it came from that beach,” said user Chad Kitterman.
WATCH: How our trash and plastic ends up in our oceans and the impact it’s having on our environment
Click to play video: 'Plastic pollution crisis: How waste ends up in our oceans'
Plastic pollution crisis: How waste ends up in our oceans

“Exactly. But how did it get out there? It started somewhere, on some beach. That’s the point they’re making. Leaving things on the beach will work its way to the water’s edge and then into the ocean, ultimately killing something,” user Cheyenne Boslough said.

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READ MORE: How waste ends up in our oceans

Others were outraged to see people leave their garbage on the beach.

“People are ignorant! They don’t care that they leave a mess for someone else [to] clean up… I love to fish when I go to the beach. I usually have to cut some line off and redo some rigs and stuff. The point is I have a bag I put all my trash in ’cause I don’t want it to get away from me and some poor bird or other animals get wrapped up on it,” user Katie Lawley wrote.

“I have been on the beach during Spring Break and watched young people leave beer cans and all manner of things on the beach when they leave,” user Rodger D De Ramus wrote.

Wildlife in Canada

According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, plastic pollution can threaten the lives of seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and other fish across the country.

“In Atlantic Canadian waters, Leatherback Sea Turtles usually feed on Lion’s Mane Jellyfish and on Moon Jellyfish. However, Leatherbacks are indiscriminate feeders, which means they’ll feed on anything that resembles jellyfish. This may be why Leatherbacks swallow marine debris such as plastic bags and deflated balloons. The plastic can block their gut causing them to starve, or it can prevent them from properly absorbing the nutrients in their diet,” the site notes.

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Not only is it recommended to pick up after yourself when you visit a body of water this summer, but the federation notes you should also try cutting down on plastic at home.

Stop purchasing bottled water, always cut six-pack rings and swap plastic for metal or wood cooking utensils.

“If you’re not reusing the plastic in your kitchen, please make good use of your recycling bins. Just think of all the plastic we could save from landfills and our waterways simply by using our recycling bins.”

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