Turtle rescued from poachers

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Poachers were disturbed in the act as they attempted to drag a 400 pound nesting green sea turtle off a West Bay beach. 

The three men fled the area, leaving the turtle lying on its back, after they were interrupted by a fisherman, out with his dog, at around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

Police and Department of Environment officials were called to the scene and the turtle was helped safely back to the sea. Department of Environment enforcement officer Mark Orr said it had taken four people to lift the turtle over the ironshore and back to the water. 

“We took some DNA samples and measurements and carried her about 100 feet to get back to the water. She wouldn’t have been able to make it back on her own from where we found her,” Mr. Orr said. 

He said Department of Environment patrols, which monitor the beaches and tag nesting turtles, do their best to protect the animals and prevent poaching, but incidents continue to occur. 

“The usual thing is that they cut [the turtles] up and sell the meat. Unfortunately, they would not have had much trouble going door to door and selling it. We are still fighting this idea that it is traditional and people have a right to catch them. 

“We don’t have the numbers to support that anymore. We have to keep battling against it.” 

A 400 pound turtle could have made the men more than $1,000 on the black market, Mr. Orr believes. He said turtles were a “target of opportunity” for poachers. The Department of Environment typically sees around two to three incidents of turtle poaching every year. 

During nesting season, volunteers patrol the beaches to count the number of nests and ensure the safety of the turtles and their nests. 

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Department of Environment research officer Paul Chin and intern Lucy Collyer watch as the turtle heads back out to sea.

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Police officers look on as Department of Environment intern Lucy Collyer attends to a nesting turtle that poachers flipped on its back as they tried to drag it off a West Bay beach.
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  1. How hypocritical. Cayman raises, slaughters and consumes turtle meat as an industry. The poachers really aren’t doing anything differently than the turtle farm, to these wonderful creatures who have a right to live.

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  2. It’s very sad that people would kill a turtle that is about to lay her eggs! They’re not killing one turtle but hundreds of them. I think it’s best not to publish what the meat would go for on the black market since it could encourage others to commit such immoral acts.

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  3. There’s a vast difference between a properly run organization that protects endangered species and indiscriminate killing. And to disturb a mama in the process of reproducing is an act that, in my opinion, is worthy of a public flaying.

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  4. I think that this is a good time to lobby the government for more protection of the marine conservation laws , now that we have this act and facts of something that should be in the law . Disturbing a nesting turtle should be a ten years prison sentence. When you kill one mother that is coming to nest, you are killing about a 100 babies, the population can’t survive.

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  5. To the facts that we must be able to see "right from wrong" before we agree or defend someone or something . I see a lot of people who are doing this. We should look at the issue or the person in question very careful before you pass your opinion. Because the turtle farm raises turtle domestically and they have a license to do this. It’s illegal for a poacher to do it illegal.The turtle farm do not kill egg laying females or pregnant female turtles, poachers are out to make a buck, most often to support a drug habit.They are not feeding a village.

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  6. The turtle farm just kill turtles. Doesn’t make sense to kill eggs, since this is where they make their money. They weren’t managing things very well recently. The farm certainly isn’t feeding my village thank you very much. It’s time Cayman started using its natural resources to create money and jobs. It’s called the SUN. Tap into this natural resource for energy, since it is so plentiful. Encourage energy companies to create a plan whereby residents receive discounted prices on solar panels and installation. Conserve the turtles. Eat a salad.

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