DoE and vets rush to save poached turtle

| 04/08/2017 | 62 Comments

(CNS): An adult female wild green turtle, estimated at over 400 lbs, was saved from the poacher’s knife yesterday after DoE enforcement officers Carl Edwards and Alan MacKay responded to a report in the Eastern Districts. The turtle was found on her back in a tool shed impaled through the neck and flippers by four large hooks. The DoE said the hooks had been attached to a rope and thrown like a grappling hook to capture the turtle at sea and it appeared she had been hidden in the shed to await being butchered.

But the officers rushed the turtle to the DoE headquarters, where conservation officers and operations staff used heavy-duty bolt cutters to remove the hooks while the Cayman Turtle Centre’s veterinarian Dr Ana Malabia responded to the scene to treat the wounds caused by the hooks.

After she received treatment the turtle, estimated to be more than 30 years old, was tagged, measured and released back into the sea by DoE research staff, who are hopeful that she will continue nesting for many more seasons to come.

The owner of the property where she was found has been detained for questioning, officials said, adding that this is the fifth report already this season of turtle poaching to feed the illegal meat trade.

This latest incident is of enormous concern as poaching is undermining the challenging and long-term conservation efforts to restore the wild population in Cayman waters.

“Turtle poaching is a very serious and growing concern,” DoE  researcher and turtle expert Janice Blumenthal said. “We would like to thank members of the public for their continued help in reporting these incidents and helping us safeguard our turtle nesting populations. It is estimated that less than 1 in 1,000 sea turtles survive to maturity and our nesting population is still critically small. Every one of our nesting turtles is critical in allowing our population to survive and recover.”

Although the Cayman Turtle Centre continues to come under criticism for a host of reasons from concerns about husbandry standards to the idea of farming an endangered species, the farm is still considered a major tool in reducing poaching. Even conservationists here believe that without it the remaining demand for turtle meat would see poachers wipe out the population in local waters.

Despite the increase in the nesting population over the last few years, turtles remain an endangered species in Cayman.

For more information, go to the DoE Facebook page here.

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Category: Crime, Marine Environment

Comments (62)

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  1. Wahyaseh says:

    I seh wa happen to all the enclosed barrier reefs many years ago that gave us abondance of sea life who destroyed the reefs for channels and y…




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  2. Supa says:

    Bless the person who was responsible for this turtles rescue.




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  3. Not Caymanians says:

    I am sorry. The taking of a turtle in this way and at this time of the year IS NOT CAYMANIAN HERITAGE. This was done outta pure greed and stupidity.

    I knew severale old Caymanian Turtlers and they will tell you that they never took laying turtles during laying season.

    They also never killed the turtles in this way. It was more humane and quick.

    Any REAL Caymanian knows this, the half breeds dont.

    Stop trying to pretend to be Caymanian and blame it on Heritage and Culture. It aint niether of them. Stop disrespecting the forefathers.




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    • Anonymous says:

      4.26…so you are saying that its OK to break the law as long as its humanely done? How about you stop disrespecting the law?




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      • Anonymous says:

        you missing the point on purpose you troll




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        • Anonymous says:

          Not at all…the original poster seems to glorify the industry in the past which is why exactly these are endangered species today…go troll yourself.




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          • Anonymous says:

            The industry in the past should be glorified. Turtle meat sustained our people when there was no pork, beef or chicken readily available.

            The turtles saved our lives, and now it is our turn to return the favor and protect them.




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    • Michael says:

      “half breeds …” so this is now an ethnic issue? Gimme a break and stop turning every issue into an “us and them” problem. When will we ever deal with the facts of issues without twisting the agenda into an ethnic conflict? Focus on the problems of our endangered environment and throw your weight behind the DOE and the RCIP in the fight against poaching. Everyone knows who the habitual poachers are so come on, put the pressure on them, and help preserve our environment for following generations to enjoy. By the way, if there were not “half breeds” as you call them, most pure breds would be inbred!!




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Name and prosecute this poacher!! WTF?




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    • Sharkey says:

      CNS , can you please help shine a little more light on this nest of turtle eggs that are about to be covered up .

      I think that it’s a disgrace that DoE would find and rescue a endangered female green turtle from someone’s property , and all they have said is the owner was questioned . Someone needs to give some answers on this issue .




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      • Anonymous says:

        The DOE do very little when it comes to these things. I have called on a number of occasions to report illegal actions and have been told a number of different excuses why nothing will be done. Too busy with “visiting scientists”, no staff available, call the police as they might be able to do something, or we will try and get someone there (but never do) are just a few. The DOE are basically useless and another Government branch that wastes our money on their own projects.




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    • Anonymous says:

      They’re obviously not naming anyone now because that’s what trials are for.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    You have to charge the property owner at least. Unless he is happy to hand over others involved. If you don’t charge anyone then the law is nothing and should be removed from the books. A long with conch and lobster. Hell, do away with your environmental zones and marine parks too. Might as well do away with the DOE while we r at it.
    An example must be made. We demand it.




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  6. Sharkey says:

    I am not a Lawyer , but what I know about Laws , I think that there’s many elements of this rescue of this big endangered breeding female green turtle , that someone can be charged with it . I think that if DoE don’t put someone in Court over this turtle rescue that they would be looked at as no threats to poachers and the poaching will continue and get worse .

    Is this the same as being in possession of stolen property ? And much more .




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    • Sharkey says:

      In another sense why didn’t DoE release more information on where and who had this turtle in their possession . What is being covered up here ? DoE needs to remember that they have a Law Enforcement Division and they should always use it .

      I think that everyone today needs to get of the small Islands mentality of protecting brother and sister and friends , if we want to see the resources of the Islands survive for the future generations , we must change and educate . If not there wont be any for our great grandchildren .




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      • Rainbow Anderson-Bytnar says:

        I hope you mean “get RID of the small island mentality…”




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      • Anonymous says:

        Dude, read the second line of the article. It was the enforcement officers who responded. Obviously they’re pushing the feel-good ‘rescue’ aspect of the story now while the enforcement aspects will take longer. And not be reported in detail prior to the actual case. (Innocent until proven guilty, not giving the defense attorneys anything to complain about, etc.) Stop seeing a conspiracy behind every tree.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Names please




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    • Anonymous says:

      Not until the charges are laid. Got to keep things by the book otherwise its fodder for the defense attorneys.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Turtling is a part of our heritage, just as killing chickens or cows is yours. Everyone is so revolted when hearing that some turtle was caught, yet when thousands of chickens are raised on top of each other in pens no larger than a dog’s cage, so that many of them suffocate to death (or can’t walk because their legs have atrophied), yo’ ALL go stuffing your mouths as if chicken was going out of style and not saying BOO. Happy face stuffin!!! Now go butcher some innocent calf, so you can stuff your faces with your tender veal, and leave me the Flipper alone to enjoy my turtle.




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    • Anonymous says:

      “Turtling” may be part of Cayman heritage. However poaching is against Cayman laws, introduced by Cayman politicians voted for by Caymanians – go figure!




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    • Anonymous says:

      And there you have it, the idiot who uses heritage to justify the cruelty of ramming four huge fishing hooks into a mature breeding turtle, pushing her into a shed in 90 degrees of heat and causing hours of unnecessary suffering.
      If that’s heritage, then shame on your barbaric sense of entitlement.
      Slavery was once thought of as ‘heritage’ and was quite legal, as was whale hunting, putting children down mines and cannibalism in some cultures.
      Fortunately the civilised world has moved on and now appreciates that ‘heritage’, ‘culture’ and religion are not excuses for savage cruelty.
      If you want to eat a marine reptile, then pay the money and buy your ‘heritage’ from the authorised supplier, not from criminals who have only their own interests at heart and care little for the future of these islands and the richness of its environment.

      And for your information, Cayman was not the only recipient of turtle meat, it was sent to Europe in vast quantities in the past, becoming part of their food heritage for centuries. But that’s the difference between a mature and civilised society and one built on greed, entitlement and blind stupidity, they stopped using the ‘heritage’ argument when they intelligently realised that the animal was becoming endangered and that domesticated land animals were a more sustainable food source instead.

      Please don’t try and off set your barbarity to animals, including dogs, cats, birds, cows, horses, goats and any other creature you exploit for money, food or leisure, against legally farmed, sustainable domesticated farm stock. Just because you keep chickens and other animals in appalling conditions, don’t think the rest of the world follows.

      Catching and cruelly killing an endangered species is illegal. It is no longer ‘heritage’ it is criminal and anyone caught catching or killing turtles, handling illegally caught meat, harbouring those who do or supplying meat, (cooked or uncooked) without the correct invoices should be closed down, jailed and heavily fined, period.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I hope they ban meat all together. Then we can all just be vegan. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Have you ever talked to some of these East End people, 9:48? They are…..different……from the rest of the population apart from some mentally challenged West Bayers. Your sound comment will have no effect. Remember Arden McLean is their MLA. That should tell you something. When all the turtles, groupers, snappers and all the other fish are taken out of the seas by these “heritage fisherman”, they will blame the Limeys, because that is the Caymanian way these days. Not our fault.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Legally farmed animals? You mean like those who are scalded to death, forced to live by the thousands in tiny cages so that they suffocate, whose bones are broken because there’s too little space in their cages, or because workers routinely kick them and abuse them, or those who are so badly brutalized and mistreated while they’re being “legally” grown that there’s been a weekly petition to put an end to the abuse, yet nothing ever comes of it… Try a better example idiot! And if you don’t like the Cayman Islands, get the F out and go wherever you came from.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-bekoff/scalding-live-chickens-is_b_6897914.html




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        • Anonymous says:

          The Huffington Post, really?
          And none of that makes what was done to that turtle right, so if you are so freakin’ concerned for animal welfare that you need to trawl left wing rags to get a story that matches you’re warped sense of injustice, try putting it into practice here first, then judge others.
          And for your information I am Caymanian and proud of our turtling heritage, but it wasn’t based on blind, criminal greed to feed drink and drug habits or to supply cheap meat to modern day, uneducated drop outs who are unemployable.
          It was an honourable source of industry and food that was of its day, those days have gone and you need to get your Stone Age brain around that fact. If you want to continue eating turtle, that’s a matter for your conscience, but pay the damn market price for it you cheap ass and stop making excuses for inbred criminals.
          The real, honest and proud Caymanians are not the same breed as you and we’re going nowhere.




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    • Sharkey says:

      10:30pm , Do you even know the difference between poaching and heritage ? If you don’t you should be watched .




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    • Anonymous says:

      Utter utter rubbish, such a pathetic response. And I say that as a Caymanian, not that that should make any difference to my point of view, but wanted to throw it in there due to the heritage angle spouted to try and justify this barbaric and ILLEGAL act. Again truly pathetic.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You are an idiot,




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    • Sharkey says:

      You sure you are not a goat .




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    • Anonymous says:

      10.30… You have the turtle farm. We have cattle farms. We don’t poach. You do. Criminal mind set. Which bit of endangered species do you find really difficult to understand?




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    • Anonymous says:

      True dat!




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    • Anonymous says:

      It maybe ‘heritage’ but it has been consigned to history by your own laws, written and voted for by your own people.
      It is no longer present day heritage, it is criminal law and anyone found breaking the law, Caymanian or not, should pay a very high price indeed.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see if there is a prosecution or do they have friends in high places to brush it under the carpet.
    Don’t be swayed madam DPP prosecute them to the full extent of the law




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  10. Anonymous says:

    The Turtle Farm is supposed to stop this from happening, what is wrong with people? Go buy it legally if that’s your thing…




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  11. Anonymous says:

    Yuck.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    Police get more money where money for more doe officer. Well done officers keep fighting the good fight on behalf of the honest Caymanian people.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Send the property owner to northward for a couple of years. Time to make an example out of these scumbag poachers!

    Well done to all involved in the rescue!




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  14. Anonymous says:

    Well done Carl, keep it up. It’s good to know that some actually give a damn about the welfare of these creatures that, if left up to some, would wipe the species out completely due to their own ignorance and greed. Lion fish and iguana are in abundance so no excuses saying you’re doing this because you’re hungry!




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  15. Anonymous says:

    I hope charges are pressed and an example will be set for everyone residing here to read about it




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  16. Anonymous says:

    We’re lucky we still have any. Whatever we have to do to keep and grow the population has to be done.




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Shoot the poacher and eat him.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    Sickening. These wretches are intent on hunting down every last wild turtle in Cayman waters. The poachers need to receive harsh sentences when caught.

    And all those who bleat about eating turtle being an essential aspect of “our culture” should reflect that slavery was once part of that culture too. As human society evolves, certain activities carried on by mankind simply become wrong and unacceptable.

    Nothing is forever. Except extinction.




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  19. Anonymous says:

    Time to bring out that 500k fine you have never used for poaching!




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  20. Anonymous says:

    Impaled through the neck and flippers and left there to suffer until butchered?!?! I say the poachers should suffer the same fate.

    Great job DOE and Dr. Malabia!




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  21. These poachers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. There are simply no excuses for their action.




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  22. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to the news of a lengthy jail term for the poachers. Magistrate needs to send a stern message to would-be poachers here , not that they care either way it seems.




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  23. Anonymous says:

    Nothing will stop these poachers from taking turtle fish and lobsters from anywhere at any time of year, they suffer from a combination of greed and ignorance.




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    • Anonymous says:

      But more doe officers, boats and money could at least try.




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    • wawa says:

      people are still now in off season taking conch,and lopster, these people are mostly drug addicts, in west bay it is rampant.
      no inforcement some restaurants still buy them in off season.
      you can get a billion dollars for police, and all top line water craft ,but if no one enforces its all in vain
      these people are going out in the night and taking marine life using under water flashlights they have no fear of the great white(smile) also off seven mile beach conch are being exterminated in great multitudes zones don’t matter to them.




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  24. Anonymous says:

    Better learn stew iguana.




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  25. Anonymous says:

    Great job DoE!! These poachers are nothing but scum.




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    • Sharkey says:

      Now that this was found on someone property , I hope that a example be made of all involved . Good job with the rescue DOE , but let’s see the enforcement part now .




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    • Anonymous says:

      So what will be done about this. I bet the property owners wont even get a slap on the hand. They should be prosecuted and let a jury decide guilt or innocence.




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    • Cayguy says:

      inbreds at best




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