A rare albino turtle that has hatched on Great Barrier Reef Island has been given a slim hope of survival by local specialists.
This week, a newborn green sea turtle made its way into the ocean near Lady Elliot Island, off Queensland’s northeastern coast.
Green sea turtle hatchlings often have a dark grey shell, greenish skin, and a white or pastel yellow undershell.
This rare turtle on the island has pink-white skin and a reddish-orange shell. Only one in 100,000 turtles are born with albinism, a genetic disease that causes the skin, hair, and eyes to appear white.
Researchers at the environmental retreat took to Instagram to show how the condition of the sea creature has serious implications. ‘Current estimates of survivorship of hatchlings maturing to adulthood are about one in 1,000,’ they wrote on Instagram.
‘Unfortunately, the success rate of this little one is also further reduced due to low sight and the inability to camouflage.’
As a result, the turtle’s eyesight is hampered because of Melanin’s function in optic nerve growth.
According to Jim Buck of the Island’s ecosystem management office, albino turtles act as prey for local predators.
“These little guys struggle to leave the nest, and if they manage to do so, they’re not well suited to the new environment.”
“We can see the animal clearly, so I’m certain that predators would have the same ability.”
According to him, the researchers were stunned when they discovered the unusual find, which had only been recorded a few times in the island’s history.
There are only a few species of green turtles, and they’re critically endangered.
Researchers on Lady Elliot island said the southern Great Barrier reef population has increased by 3% to 4% over the last few years.