Thursday 12 December, 2019

Trinis outraged after photos of butchered turtle shared online

Photo: Hours after a family saw a female leatherback turtle come ashore to lay her eggs, her mutilated carcass was found on Balandra beach on July 26, 2018.

Photo: Hours after a family saw a female leatherback turtle come ashore to lay her eggs, her mutilated carcass was found on Balandra beach on July 26, 2018.

Just hours after the Scarlet Ibis was officially commemorated as an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS), on Trinidad's north coast a protected turtle was savagely poached and butchered on Balandra beach. 

Facebook user Stacy Gatcliffe shared the photos and videos to Facebook on July 26, condemning the cruel act.

"Brutal and barbaric humans we live amongst. Mother turtles coming up onto our beaches to lay their eggs, totally unaware that blood-thirsty humans are waiting to ambush them for a meal."

"We personally saw this mother swim ashore last night in Balandra, only to find her mere hours later, ripped apart for human consumption," she said. 

(Photo: The animal's shell and entrails were casually tossed aside and left on the beach. Photo courtesy Stacy Gatcliffe/Facebook.)

The leatherback turtle is listed as an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS), while turtle nesting grounds are protected by law. 

All turtle hunting, as well as the sale of turtle meat, is a criminal offence under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago.

Citizens expressed shock and anger at the act.

Jeannine Story:

"Just awful, imagine these cruel people waited for this mother to come ashore to lay her eggs and slaughtered her, just so they could bubble a pot, and they very well know that it’s illegal to kill turtles, they just don’t care! So sad, it really makes you feel despondent; the mentality of some of our people."

Sarah Corbie: "No man! When would these Trinidadians start appreciating our earth and the many gifts we have been blessed with? This really hurts my heart."

Marlene Pires: "There must be a special place in hell for these nasty humans."

Sandra Navarro: "Over the years we have come across similar scenes...they swim around in deep water but seldom come ashore due to rocks and rough waves...those (poachers) are truly brutal."

One person who said he had a home nearby said the poaching occurs regularly from his beachfront. He claimed that two persons from a nearby village were responsible. 

LoopTT has reached out to the authorities for comment.

 

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