One of the turtles with large tumors. One of the turtles with a large tumor.

Large tumors found in sea turtles in Sinaloa; pollution a likely cause

Tumors have been found before now but these were much larger, biologist says

Two adult green sea turtles caught off the coast of Sinaloa within a week of each other were found to have very large tumors.

A marine biologist at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), Alan Zavala Norzagaray, said it was not the first time tumors have been found on turtles of this species, but those found previously were smaller.

Multiple tumors ranging in size from 0.1-40 centimeters were found on the turtles’ fins, skin, tissues, heads, cloaca and upper and lower shells.

He said the cause of the tumors is not known for certain, but the most likely explanations are pollution and climate change.

Researchers are running tests on the two turtles and will keep them indefinitely.

Zavala said that concentrations of contaminants on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are high. This exposes the turtles to harmful pollutants when they come ashore to lay their eggs.

Aside from pollutants like plastics and other garbage, Zavala suspects that agrochemicals, heavy metals, organochlorides and other chemical waste could also be to blame.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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