Today’s Editorial August 07: Slaughtering turtles senseless, wrong

There’s one less turtle in the Cayman Islands to help replenish an endangered species.

Someone, or more than one person, slaughtered a mature female green turtle that was about to lay her eggs on a West Bay beach last week.

She was dragged from her nesting spot into nearby trees and was butchered.

And it was no easy feat; she weighed more than 350 pounds.

People who kill our turtles are rogues that are destroying the last vestiges of a rich heritage.

No one in the Cayman Islands can rightly claim not to know that the sea turtle – once a Cayman staple food – is now a highly endangered creature, bound to disappear from sight unless it is accorded the highest degree of protection.

The turtle is intricately bound to Cayman’s culture and way of life.

Our history with the turtle is so entrenched that an image of the creature adorns our Coat of Arms.

It’s painted on the tail of Cayman Airways aircraft.

The Department of Tourism uses it as a customer friendly logo.

Even Christopher Columbus named our islands Las Tortugas because of the plentiful turtles he saw when he found Cayman.

The time when turtle simply meant food is long gone. The few remaining turtles breeding in this area will soon be gone too, if they or their eggs are eaten by a few irresponsible and thoughtless people.

We still have the privilege of eating turtle meat. All we have to do is ring up the Turtle Farm at Boatswain’s Beach, place an order and pick it up.

In addition to providing us turtle meat, the farm is keeping turtles alive by raising and releasing them back into the wild.

Once there, turtles should be left alone to breed, nest, live and grow.

A mature turtle killed is one less animal to produce offspring.

Future generations will not see turtles in the wild at all unless the few remaining animals still living and-or nesting here are allowed to live and to breed.

We hope the Department of Environment Marine Enforcement finds the person or persons responsible for killing the turtle in West Bay last week.

We further hope they are charged and receive the maximum sentence allowed by law when convicted.

Killing turtles is senseless, wrong and illegal.

If you have information about the turtle slaughtered in West Bay last week, notify the authorities.

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