The Coast Guard, a Trapped Sea Turtle, and a $53 Million Cocaine Stash

Published by Danny Prater.

According to reports, the Coast Guard had to step in to rescue a wild sea turtle who had a life-threating run-in with a patch of “snow.” But this isn’t the type of “white Christmas” you may be thinking of—the turtle’s neck was entangled by cords that were securing a massive bundle of cocaine jettisoned overboard from a ship and left floating in the open ocean. Watch what happened:

Over 3 million people have already seen the video footage above, which was captured during the rescue operation. Carefully cutting away the netted web of cords holding the stash of narcotics together, the Coast Guard heroes were able to free the loggerhead turtle from the snare.

Our actions affect living, feeling beings in ways we may not consider.

While you probably don’t have $53 million worth of cocaine to ditch (we hope!), all litter has the potential to hurt wild animals—on land or in the ocean. Garbage that washes into sewers or gets swept up by the wind from beaches or landfills and blown into the ocean can easily injure or entangle sensitive marine animals. On land, discarded plastic soda rings, bottles, cans, and even straws can kill wildlife as well as companion animals such as cats and dogs. Watch this dramatic video that went viral a few years ago, which shows vets working to dislodge a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose:

Please, don’t ever litter—no matter the size (or worth) of the objects. Animals can mistake trash for food or shelter, which can lead to suffocation or other deadly problems. Hungry animals desperate for even just a few crumbs often get their heads stuck in discarded cans, cups, and jars.

Be sure to cover your garbage cans and recycling bins securely in order to prevent animals from becoming stuck inside. Keep an eye out for other people’s trash, too: Organize a park, beach, or neighborhood cleanup. Remember: Your actions could mean the difference between life and death for an animal!


You can learn more about the ways littering hurts animals—and get tips on how to help animals who become trapped—by checking out our handy guide:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind