While diseases can spread to just about any animal, Green Turtles, as well as some Loggerhead and Olive Ridley, are facing a whole different threat - fibropapillomatosis tumors. The first reporting of the fibropapillomatosis tumors in green sea turtles was in the Florida Keys in the 1938. While this is not a new issue, it is a growing one. Since then, more and more green sea turtles are being found with these tumors on their body - some are unaffected and only have small tumors, while others have larger ones that affect their senses and ability to swim.
Scientists and biologists have not found a solid, clear answer as to why these green sea turtles are being found with fibropapillomatosis tumors, but it has been said that pollution may be a leading reason as to why their numbers are increasing.
In a 2014, Duke University, the University of Hawaii, and NOAA, conducted a study on what is causing an increase in the fibropapillomatosis disease in green sea turtles off of Hawaii. They discovered a link between waters with higher nitrogen levels and green sea turtles with this disease. Urban and farm runoff in Hawaii along with increasing ocean temperatures was found to be the result of more green sea turtles with this disease.
Although there are increasing reportings of sea turtles with theses tumors, places such as Gumbo Limbo and The Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab accept these turtles and surgically remove their tumors. Post surgery, the survival rate of green sea turtles is extremely high at 90%.
Further research is being done so that scientists can fully understand what is causing these tumors and how they can be avoided in the future to ensure that all sea turtles live a happy and healthy life!