Suspect turtle poachers arrested

| 27/08/2019
Cayman News Service
Shell of suspected poached turtle

(CNS): Two men were arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of poaching and drug offences after police and customs found a green turtle shell and meat during a raid at a West Bay home. RCIPS and Customs and Border Control officers carried out a joint operation at a house on Up The Hill Road, where they recovered a package of ganja from one of the men. But during a search of a vehicle at the location they also discovered a still bloody turtle shell and then a package of turtle meat inside the house.

A 27-year-old man from Bodden Town was arrested for possession and consumption of ganja as well as taking marine life without being licensed. A second man, aged 39 of West Bay, was also arrested over the poached turtle.

Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown said the raid had been based on suspicion about drug offences but the discovery of the turtle shell and meat was quite significant.

“As the police service, it is part of our remit to investigate and prosecute these offences as well, in conjunction with our partner agencies, and it is a responsibility we take very seriously,” he stated.

This is the second adult green turtle discovered to have been poached in the West Bay area recently. The DoE also found a shell in a dumpster in the district, indicating that the animal had already been butchered.

Dr Janice Blumenthal, a specialist in turtles at the Department of Environment, said that this most recent discovery demonstrates the ongoing threat poachers present to the endangered species.

“The shell was taken from an adult green sea turtle that was one of less than 150 such animals left in the wild around the Cayman Islands. It is also the second turtle shell recovered in an apparent poaching incident within the past month on Grand Cayman,” she said. “Although the Department of Environment has seen a steady increase in the number of turtle nests in recent years, poaching of even a few endangered adult sea turtles can lead to a reversal of that trend very quickly.”

Police said that the two men have been granted bail as the investigation continues and no charges have yet been brought.

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Category: Crime, DoE

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