13 Sep '11, 5am

Large numbers of turtles and dugongs are starving to death and washing up on the Queensland shore

SYDNEY - A sudden mass starvation of turtles and dugongs (picture), a rare sea mammal, off the coast of Queensland has prompted warnings of a long-term natural disaster in the normally sheltered waters just inshore of the Great Barrier Reef. Rotting carcasses have washed ashore in alarming numbers along hundreds of kilometres of beaches and on the shore of small islands. Scientists believe they are victims of the after-effects of the cyclone and floods that have afflicted this part of Australia in the past year. Naturalists fear that up to 1,500 dugongs - a species of sea cows - and 6,000 turtles along the Reef are likely to die in the coming months because their main food source, sea grass, was largely wiped out by the floods and cyclone. In some places the plants were ripped from the seabed by currents created by the storms and in others they were inundated under silt an...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110913-0000276/Turtle...

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