Fibropapilloma – Sea Turtle Tumors
Fibropapillomatosis is a potentially deadly disease found in sea turtles caused by a type of herpes virus.
If a sea turtle is infected with the virus, they would have cauliflower-shaped tumors that grow on their necks, underbellies, and eyes, as well as internal organs. Though the tumors are usually not cancerous, they affects the turtle’s movement, eyesight and physical activities and makes it difficult for them to find food.
Fibropapillomatosis was first documented in sea turtles in the 1930s, and is pervasive in warm waters around the world. Potential causes of this virus includes agricultural run-off, pollution and global warming.
The Turtle Hospital in Florida is one of the oldest turtle rescue and rehabilitation centers, and they have been seeing more and more turtle patients infected with FP. More and more turtle patients are being treated at the hospital, most of them rescued after boat strikes, swallowed hooks, entanglements with fishing gear, and diseases like FP.
Think about how your actions affect sea turtles and other creatures.
See here and here for articles describing FP at the turtle hospital, and here for more information on the turtle hospital. Image from The Turtle Hospital.