The Last Straw.

This plea is a direct Turtle – English translation from the account of David the Turtle. If you have any queries for David the Turtle, you can access him through myself, his manager, at If you wish to donate in response to David the Turtle’s plea, go to

  • FAQ:
    • You speak Turtle?
      • Yes.
    • Can you teach me to speak Turtle?
      • No.

Transcript, begin:

I liked my Ocean, I think is what you Human’s call it. We call it Shhwsh because that’s sound it makes. I like being in Shhwsh with Nellie and Lily and Sally and Michelle and… [Translators Note: The names listed are the names we gave to the Turtles. The names used by David the Turtle are native to his language. We are unable to translate them. The list continues for some considerable time.] They went off to the yellow rocky place – beach? –  we call it Crshhh – to lay eggs and come back with little Me’s. We need smaller Me’s because there less and less and less of us every day. We dyin’. Cos of – what you call it – tasplic – no – plastic! Yes, yes, plastic!

We dyin’ coz of plastic.

Big big BWAHHH’s [See Glossary.] come in our Shhwsh and drop big big plastic. In our home! Some of the plastic even bigger than our leader! When we smells them coming – they leave bad smell that makes us ill – we panic and hide, but the Humans on BWAHHH be mean and have twisted faces that go, “Ha ha ha!” as they still drop plastic.  They not like Lizzie. She nice and help us when plastic hurt us.

BWAHHH Humans no care. No care when Ozzy has straw up nose and red stuff that tastes like metal coming out of it and he can’t swim or breathe. Lizzie pull it out and heal him. Lizzie nice.

Lizzie can no help us all. We all hungry. Not enough al— algy— algae? Not ‘nough squishy stuff for us to chomp. Or we start eating plastic. Then my friends get skinny. They stop talk. Stop swim. They start to float away away away. But the BWAHHH keep coming coming coming.

When Nellie and Lily and Sally and Michelle and… [Translator’s note: List shortened for convenience.] come back with little Me’s they go, “Shief! [See Glossary.] Where is everyone?” and we point at plastic and at big BWAHHHs that go, “BWAHHH.” And all our empty shells. Floating.

Mickey came to me one day. With plastic around his neep [See Glossary.] He wear it like Lizzie wear the shiny thing around her neep. Hers prettier. Mickey’s hurt him. Lizzie cut it off and feed Mickey squishy stuff.

Leader comes to us. “The little Me’s are dying,” he says.

“Why?” I says.

“They eat plastic.” Leader says.

You Humans even kill little Me’s. What if I fed little You’s plastic?

Lizzie and friend Humans on small BWAHHH’s come and take little Me’s. It sad. We all sad. But they promise they help little Me’s live. Give good squishy stuff to eat and no plastic.

Yesterday, they came again on their big BWAHHHs, and threw more and more and more plastic into Shhwsh. There was definitely more of it this time. A great big piece – bigger even than great Leader – landed on Michelle, on her head. She fell under the water, which is fine, coz we can swims, but she came back up floating. The blue Shhwsh around her; red.

The whales – Lizzie calls ‘em whales – sang. A deep, low, song, that vibrates through Shhwsh. To us. To Michelle. To the rest of the floating shells. Their song blocks out our sadness, for a while.

But it could not drown out the cries of our Leader.

He starved. Not enough algae. Too much plastic. Our Leader, dead, noone left to guide us. Noone left to guide us through our end.

This is why am asking you Humans for help, why Lizzie told me to say this ‘plea’. We dyin’. We has no leader. We has no little Me’s. We no meant to wear plastic round neeps or up nose. Shhwsh no meant to be red. We no meant to starve on Human plastic.

Please help us. We no understand. What we did wrong?

Why are you doing this?

Transcript end.


BWAHHH – Boat. [Closest translation.]

Crshh – Beach.

Neep – Neck. [Closest translation.]

Shhwsh – Ocean.

Shief – Fuck.

By Isabel Tyldesley.

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