Officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Joint Marine Unit found an adult male green turtle speared through the head over the past weekend.
The male was fully-grown and weighed between 300-400lbs, according to officers. .
Environment Research and Enforcement Officers met the police
vessel in an effort to save the severely injured turtle. However, Sunday’s discovery came too late for the turtle which
died en route to the dock.
According to environment officers,
the turtle had been shot with a speargun and also hit by the prop of a boat.
Based on their examination of the injuries, officers believe that poachers
deliberately speared the turtle in the head and then hit it with their prop as
they attempted to bring it onto their boat.
The poachers were
likely disturbed while taking the turtle and fled the scene, leaving the turtle
behind, officers said.
populations in the Cayman Islands are endangered and the loss of rare mature
turtles threatens their survival even further. The Department of Environment considers turtle
poaching to be among the most serious of marine conservation offences.
Past cases of
turtle poaching have resulted in large fines, prison sentences and confiscation
of vehicles and boats used in the commission of the offence.
confirmed that the speargun rod recovered from the turtle did not match any
spears in the Cayman Islands Speargun License database – suggesting that the
turtle was killed with an illegal, unlicensed spear.
information regarding this incident is asked to make a report to DOE Chief
Conservation Officer Mark Orr (916-4271) or contact Crime Stoppers at 800–TIPS.