Size does not exempt any organism from becoming a victim of aquatic pollution…even if that organism is an 800 pound, 5.5 foot leatherback sea turtle, as in this video.

One of the turtle’s front flippers had been looped in deserted fishing gear about 30 miles off the coast of New Jersey. Though the animal struggled to escape, it could not carry the heavy burden of the thick ropes and lines long enough to even change location.

While this spelled bad news for the leatherback sea turtle (a species of reptile who is notorious for being able to swim 10,000 miles in a single year), rescuers from the U.S. Coast Guard and Marine Mammal Stranding Center had little trouble locating the struggling sea turtle. Once the victim was discovered, the animal defenders were able to reel the turtle in and release it from the weighty bonds.

Without the help of such kind humans, this sea turtle would have likely died of starvation or injury. For that reason, we should all remember to properly toss our trash to avoid potentially fatal situations like this one.