Local experts have given a rare albino turtle that has hatched on a Great Barrier Reef island a poor chance of survival.
This week, a newborn green sea turtle made its way into the ocean off the coast of Lady Elliot Island, off the coast of Bundaberg in Queensland’s northeast.
Hatchling green sea turtles have a dark grey shell, greenish skin, and a white or pastel yellow undershell.
On the island, this unusual turtle has pink-white skin and a reddish-orange shell.
Albinism is a genetic illness that causes white skin, hair, and eyes in one out of every 100,000 turtles.
The environmental resort’s researchers used Instagram to show how the state of the marine animal has major consequences.
They posted on Instagram, ‘Current estimates of hatchling survival to adulthood are roughly one in 1,000.’
‘Unfortunately, because to limited vision and inability to conceal, this tiny one’s success rate is also diminished.’
As a result of Melanin’s role in optic nerve growth, the turtle’s vision is impaired.
Albino turtles are food for local predators, according to Jim Buck, the Island’s Ecosystem Management Officer.
‘These little guys have a hard time getting out of the nest, and if they do, they aren’t well suited to the environment,’ he explained.
‘We have a good view of the animal, so I’m sure predators have the same advantage.’
The researchers were taken aback when they discovered the odd find, which has only been documented a few times in the island’s history, according to him.
Green sea turtles are highly endangered and only a few species exist.
The southern Great Barrier Reef population has grown by 3% to 4%, according to researchers on Lady Elliot Island.