Dogs run off turtle poachers

| 18/06/2015 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tagging the wild turtle, June 2015, (Photo by Mark Orr)

(CNS): A 400lb female turtle was rescued from the hands of poachers yesterday morning at around 4:30am. A man walking his dogs along the shore in West Bay came across a group of men attempting to take the nesting turtle. But the concerned citizen, with the assistance of his dogs, ran the poachers off and stood guard until the authorities arrived. Department of Environment (DoE) enforcement and research staff arrived with police backup to find the green turtle on her back in the bushes where poachers had been dragging her away, and they are now investigating the incident.

The turtle was tagged and measured by Paul Chin, a research officer, and turtle conservation intern Lucy Collyer and samples were taken for the ongoing genetic study. They, along with others, then helped move the hefty turtle back to the sea across the iron-shore.

DoE Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr commended the man’s vigilance.

Cayman News Service

Green turtle saved from poachers, June 2015 (Photo by Mark Orr)

“We would like to say a big thank you to the concerned citizen and his trusty dogs for running off the poachers and standing guard until DoE and police arrived on scene,” he said.

The conservation team usually deals with several poaching incidents each year but volunteers are helping the DoE by patrolling beaches where turtles are nesting.

With more enforcement powers under the new National Conservation Law, new recruits on the team and greater public awareness, the DoE is fighting hard to reduce poaching but it is still a challenge and the department depends on the wider community to help it protect the local environment. A turtle of this size could fetch as much as $1,000 for poachers as the appetite for wild turtle over that produced by the Cayman Turtle Farm remains.

DoE Research Officer Janice Blumenthal explained that a new research project, which is being funded by the Darwin Initiative, is allowing the department to quantify and reduce the illegal take of turtles from Cayman’s nesting population and from local waters.

“We are about to begin a second year of Darwin Funded night time monitoring, which will allow us to refine estimates of green turtle nesting population size, and we are currently analyzing data from a detailed surveys of households and restaurants with the aim of understanding and reducing the drivers of illegal take,” she said.

Cayman News Service

Rescued turtle released back to the wild, June 2015 (Photo by Mark Orr)

The Department of the Environment has a 24-hour Sea Turtle Hotline (938-NEST / 938-6378) where members of the public can report poaching incidents regarding the endangered marine animals.

In addition, people can also call Officer Mark Orr at 916-4271.

Anyone with information on this attempted poach can also call Crime Stoppers on 800-TIPS if they wish to remain anonymous.

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Category: Crime, Marine Environment, Police, Science & Nature

Comments (44)

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  1. cimboco says:

    wayasay, thank you for the history lesson. I will print this and keep it for posterity. I too hate it when our people go out poaching the turtles and it cannot be justified. However why does every subject that is printed into the newspaper used to castigate the entire population of Cayman especially from people who knows absolutely nothing about the history. They are always keen to point out that most of us descended from Europe which is true so then why are we so much different from them? most of us have African , Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, American French, Irish, blood flowing through our veins, and it is all red. We are all cousins!! If they hold us in such disdain why are they still here? why don’t they just go back home where everything is apparently wonderful. we got on just fine without some of the bigots. Cayman I believe has done more than any other country to assist in the replenishment of the turtle through the turtle farm so if some of us feel like buying turtle steak and eating it what the hell is wrong with it. And yes it is our culture and we are proud of it. You have your culture of shooting deers, birds, eating sharks, octopus, snakes pig blood and whatever else you all feel like eating. We were taught growing up to be hospitable , we were laid back and they came in droves. We allowed this and it has come back to bite us but I would like to remind them not to take our meekness for weakness. We have had just enough of their name calling and degrading. If you don’t love us leave us!!

    • Anonymous says:

      What irks is the repeated accusation made of expats is that we cannot have an opinion because we do not understand “history”, “heritage” or “culture”. The first of these is of marginal interest, the second and third do not appear to exist.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope this poachers get poached themselves by someone some day.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anyone caught doing something this barbaric needs serious jail time to discourage the horrific practice.

  4. SKEPTICAL says:

    These morons would probably justify there action by claiming it is a historical RIGHT of Caymanians to catch turtles, even if they are an endangered species. And that, anyway, they need the money. Well, the response to that is – ” get off your lazy arses, and get a job – however menial “. At the end of the week, someone gives you an envelope with some cash in it. Being Caymanian does not entitle you to break the law.

    • WaYaSay says:

      Hey Skeptical…….shut the F up and just say a big thank you to all concerned in rescuing this beautiful giant sea turtle.
      Where in the hell do you see anything in this story that identifies anyone, the poacher or the rescuer, were Caymanian.
      There are thousands of people here, Caymanians and Expats, who live in the Tropical belt around the world that eat sea turtles.

      Since you don’t have the class to say so………….let me say so for you………Thank you to ALL who helped rescue the turtle and return her to the sea……..wherever they are from. I hope the police find the culprit and locks his ass up and throw away the key………..wherever they are from.

      If you see something wrong………speak up and do what you can do about it

      • Anonymous says:

        Well only locals eat that sh*t called turtle
        the fillipinos eat the kats and dawgs
        the yardies eat saltfish and ackee
        the hondos eat the iguana
        the brits eat biskut
        and the Canada people eat poutaine
        and we all know what the yankees eat

  5. So Say I says:

    If and when caught the perps should be staked down on the beach spread eagled just above the high water mark. So any more would be nesting turtles can come and chew their N*Ts off.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I so easy to just steal live turtle from the farm
    but as we all know it don’t taste the same as fresh wild turtle

    • Anonymous says:

      We all know that laying turtles don’t taste as good as well, because the mother has put all of her nourishment into the eggs, thus leaving her fats and meat depleted. These guys are drug addicts looking for cash for their next fix.

  7. Anonymous says:

    cayman’s record on animal welfare is third world…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    what do you expect when caymans ‘culture’ and national dish is based on eating an endangered species……….. just another day in wonderland….

    • Anonymous says:

      The mandatory “heritage” classes in the new curriculum are going to be interesting.

  9. WB Rulez says:

    Cautionary advice to dog walker. Avoid this area for a while as paraquat is bound to be liberally spread around.

  10. SKEPTICAL says:

    Because of the actions of these sort of morons, one day there will be no turtles, lobster, conch, and possibly fish. They will end up standing around scratching their backsides asking – ” wha’ happen? “.

    • Anonymous says:

      Far too many Caymanians – following the lead of their imbecilic political and religious leaders telling them that everything in Cayman is sacred to Caymanians and their heritage and nothing must interfere with that and we must not listen to unchristian foreign voices swaying us from the past that made us a great Christian nation- are doing things that will result in Cayman having nothing. Ask the cod fisherman of Canada – the cod stocks have collapsed and the fisherman cannot fish.

      • SKEPTICAL says:

        Very well put – but fear you are pissing into the wind. There is probably nothing more difficult to overcome than endemic stupidity.

        • Anonymous says:

          So Caymanians are not only endemically corrupt they are also endemically stupid as well. Very Leggesque. You people are on a roll. Time running out.

      • Anonymous says:

        I must correct you that it is not just Caymanians who seriously lack the understanding of any environmental conservation efforts. There are plenty other nationalities living in Cayman who happily poach the ocean of everything they can get their hands on…..

  11. Just gimme de lights says:

    Wasting a good turtle like this is treasonous. Just ask our biggest leaders!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t Cayman have a flippin Turtle Farm? A place where you can buy turtle meat for cheap? WTF wrong with people man!?

    • Anonymous says:

      Pay for it? Why do that when animals can be slaughtered as quick as humans! Some sick people!

      • Ann says:

        To all anti-Caymanians. We became like third world when we opened our arms and welcomed you all here, at least we haven’t started eating humans yet, what’s his name? On yea Jeffery D he na Caymanian

        • Anonymous says:

          if you really are Caymanian please ask your parents or grandparents what Cayman was like 60-70 years ago, few jobs, men having to go overseas and work on boats and try ans send money and supplies home.

          you should really learn your own history. Maybe start at why Savannah is called Savannah, this is the type of things all PR applicants has to learn

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. Anonymous says:

    Surprise! Surprise! When I go to the turtle farm to buy meat, people openly talk about “dem boys” had turtle the other day!

  15. Anonymous says:

    The man (and his dogs) needs public recognition and praise, unless he is afraid of retribution from these idiot poachers who almost certainly are West Bayers.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Makes me sick to my stomach seeing this and sadly this is a regular occurrence in West Bay. The level of ignorance involved in this sort of poaching is so sad. If caught they should be locked up for 5-10 years so they can think about what they are doing to the species.

    • Anonymous says:

      how many have been convicted of slaughtering turtles???
      they will never jail a caymanian for this….or fine them seriously…..

      • Anonymous says:

        Turning a blind eye to enforcement of the law sets the tone for a jurisdiction riddled with lawlessness and corruption.

        • Anonymous says:

          But if you are spineless like Alden it is easier to create easy targets for talk than do things to people who might vote.

        • cimboco says:

          Yes we grew up eating turtle meat which was not any different from people all over the world eating chicken, beef, port, or shooting birds, deers or what have you. Back then turtles were plentiful, and Columbus on sailing in to Cayman waters commented that there was so many turtles they looked like huge rocks in the sea. Because so many visitors came to Cayman and like the taste of the turtle meat and because back then it was fairly inexpensive so all the restaurants started offering it on their menu and probably made a lot of money off it. Now that the turtles are becoming extinct and because I do not like the taste of the farmed turtle I have stopped eating it. I have also stopped eating chicken because they are loaded up with so much hormones and other things that is not good for the body. I also wish that those who poach turtles or any other nearly extinct animals would stop, but I do not think that gives me the right to say all kinds of things about those who do. Remember that the number of people poaching is a small minority so why the heck are you out there referring to Caymankind , and corruption. You know the time is fast approaching when some of you are going to be sorry for your utterances. Some of us have taken enough of your bad mouthing us over everything that happens on this island. Every citizen from every country who came to this island and ate up the turtle meat is responsible for the shortage that is being experienced today. Everyone of you who served turtle steaks on your menu is also partly responsible. Please let each one teach one about doing things like this and again let me say all of you trying to embarrass the entire local population need to stop it sooner rather that later.

          • Anonymous says:

            problem is…. caymanians still promote the eating of an endangered species… how do you justify that?

          • Anonymous says:

            Another one who doesn’t know their own history or culture. Turtles became endangered in Cayman due to restaurants, OMG, too funny. I guess they used all the Caimans that were here as well and now extinct in Cayman. Everything in Cayman is never your own fault is it, seriously take some responsibilty.

          • WaYaSay says:

            Cimboco, well said.
            Now don’t get me wrong, and let me say this up front; those dogs should have eaten those SOB’s on the spot. I hope the Police get them and lock them for a long time. No one has the right to murder a mature female turtle that is only on the beach to lay her eggs. Those SOB’s are not only killing the mother but hundreds of eggs.

            If you do not object, let me add some history to this for you.
            When Columbus wrote this in his log, the Cayman Islands (Las Tortugas) were uninhabited, yet, within 75 years of his observation, there were no more notations of abundant turtles in Cayman Waters.

            The historical fact is that European mariners ate the turtles nearly to extinction. First the Spanish, then the Portuguese, then the English mariners who entered the Caribbean in their exploration vessels completely decimated the turtle population by the late 1500’s.

            The reasons Cayman showed up on very early Spanish, Portuguese and later English cartography, which labeled these waters as fresh meat, is two fold.

            First, having entered the eastern Caribbean, in square rigged vessels that can only sail downwind, on the westerly tropical winds, in order to get back home, they had to get north of the Tropics where the winds blow easterly. In order to get to these winds they had to round Cuba and ride the Gulf Stream up to around Bermuda where they could use the easterly winds to get home, in Europe. Cayman was the last “signpost” from which to take a bearing to the western end of Cuba, so they had to sight Cayman (remember there was no way to figure out longitude in those days, only dead reckoning.)

            Secondly, having traveled for months, their supply of salted meats from Europe were usually depleted or rotted. They were aware that sea turtles, once stored on deck, on their hard shell backs and splashed with sea water daily could live for months, thereby supplying fresh meat daily all the way home. There are many, many log entries in those days of 200 to 300 turtles being stacked on deck by these European explorers.
            Yes it is true, out of necessity, and starvation, Europeans ate many, many more turtles out of Cayman Waters that Caymanians ate throughout our history.

            The Caymanian turtleing trade, born out of economic necessity had a much shorter history from the early 1900’s to the mid 1900’s, (remember the Cayman Catboat, which is what actually fished turtles were not invented until 1902 ). This trade did not take place in Cayman waters, the turtle schooners traveled to the South coast of Cuba, the Nicaraguan coast and the Mosquito keys, sometimes as far away as 600 miles.
            What is even more interesting is that over 90% of the catch never saw Cayman, they were shipped to Tampa and Mobile, where there was a huge American market of people who ate sea turtles. the 3 to 4 thousand local people ate less than 10% of the turtles caught.
            60 years ago there were very few turtles eaten in Cayman, they were much more scarce that they are today, fish, chicken, pork and beef was the staple foods in the Caymanian diet. It was not until the Turtle Farm (Mariculture Ltd) was introduced that Turtle meat became readily available again. As much as we malign the Turtle Farm, they are more responsible than anything else for turtles returning to Cayman’s waters with their program to release thousands of turtles back into the wild, when they were old enough to to achieve a far higher survival rate.

            Just trying to set the record straight about who ate the turtles which Columbus wrote about, it was not Caymanians as these Islands were uninhabited.

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