Case Studies: Marine Wildlife

Here are just a few incidences of wildlife interactions with balloon litter to demonstrate the effects of balloon litter on marine animals. Please note, these images are graphic in nature and may not be suitable for all audiences.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, 2014, Fisherman Island, Virginia, USA

A critically endangered Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtle found stranded dead on Fisherman Island, Virginia. In the intestines were a long balloon string and two pieces of latex balloons that almost certainly caused the animal a slow, painful death. (Data provided by the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, 2014). Photo on left by Pam Denmon, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Northeast Region, 2014. Photo of the ribbons and intestines of the turtle provided by Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, 2014.

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and balloons removed from gut by Kathy Townsend, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.