BOCA RATON, Fla. — A 2-pound hawksbill sea turtle named Queen Elizabeth is recovering at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.
"She has passed over 50 pieces of plastic so far," rehabilitation assistant Caitlin Bovery said. "That is a low number for how much we see in our washback turtles sometimes."
Bovery said the washback turtles are usually hatchlings that get washed back to shore. She said when the really sick ones arrive at Gumbo Limbo, it's a similar issue.
"Almost 100% of those have plastics in their systems," Bovery said.
Bovery showed WPTV just some of the plastic found in Queen Elizabeth.
"There's everything from soft pliant pieces to really hard shards that can cause some major (gastrointestinal) damage," Bovery said.
Bovery said this turtle is a bit older than a typical washback. Some even come to Gumbo Limbo with hundreds of pieces in their stomachs.
"We're starting to see it more and more in our older patients," Bovery said.
Lindsey Nieratka is Boca Raton's sustainability manager. She and the city are promoting a sustainable summer.
The goal is to help educate people to reduce plastic use in the month of July.
"We are hosting a beach cleanup this Saturday," Nieratka said.
Bovery said it's the little changes that can help "make a big difference."
She said Queen Elizabeth is one of the lucky ones and should make a full recovery.