A Logger Head Turtle, estimated to be 30-years-old and weighing 500 pounds, was helped back into the sea Tuesday night after police officers found it in a distressed condition on a beach in East End.
Officers from the Uniformed Support Group were on routine patrol in the district when they spotted the turtle near the new sea wall. Upon inspection, the animal was found to be turned over onto its back with its fins stabbed, threaded with string and tied up.
The officers were alerted to a man who was seen nearby, running onto the road and pursued him. The man, who was described as tall, of slim build, with a dark complexion and who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, was not located.
Police sought assistance from the Department of Environment and Officer Carl Edwards attended the scene.
‘This turtle is one of twelve reproducing Logger Heads who come ashore to lay eggs,’ said Mr Edwards. ‘During the examination the bleeding stopped and the turtle appeared to settle a little so we decided to release her back into the ocean.’
‘Due to the stress and injuries inflicted through the cruelty of the poacher – it is likely that she will dispose of her 3 to 4 hundred eggs at sea.’
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Department of Environment said no one may disturb or take turtles in Cayman waters without a license from the Marine Conservation Board.
Possession of turtle eggs is also prohibited and for licensed fishermen, closed season runs from April 1 through November 30.
Anyone with information about this incident or any other incidents involving turtle poaching should contact the Department of Environment on 949-8469, their local police station or Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS.