More than a litre of plastic has been found inside a turtle that washed up in Northland.
The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle was found near Mangonui in August. It was underweight and weak but had no external injuries.
Auckland Zoo resident vet, Dr Lydia Uddstrom, says despite best efforts over 13 days of intensive care, the amount of plastic ingested meant that the turtle could not recover.
Dr Uddstrom says the ingestion of plastic was the sole cause of death for the turtle.
"What's most heartbreaking for me is that this was a turtle for which us as humans are very much the cause of death", she said.
Dr Uddstrom is urging Kiwis to avoid using plastic bags and balloons.