Poaching of nesting turtles continues

| 22/07/2021 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service
Nesting turtle (Photo by DoE)

(CNS): A nesting green turtle was lost to poachers at Sand Hole in West Bay recently, after the CCTV camera there was turned off for just over a month because of a lack of funds. As a result, the National Conservation Council has voted to move money set aside for turtle-friendly lighting to pay to get the camera switched back on. The area is a notorious poaching spot and the camera had been an effective deterrent, as well as helping enforcement officers track down those poachers undeterred by the electronic eye.

The cost of keeping the camera on and monitored every night during nesting season had been covered by a combination of private funding and money from the Department of Environment. But the private sector money dried up as charity considerations switched to people impacted by the pandemic last year, and the cash to pay the security company monitoring the camera ran out.

In just a brief window without the camera, the nesting green turtle was taken by poachers. As a result the NCC has passed the necessary resolution to allow the DoE to take $7,000 to cover the shortfall, though it is still hoping to subsidize the cost through private cash as fundraising resumes.

After a record-breaking year for green turtle nesting in 2020, which may have been because there were few humans on the beaches for a significant part of the season, 2021 had a slower start for green turtles on Seven Mile Beach. However, loggerheads are having a good year and volunteers report a good number on beaches on the south coast. Earlier this month a turtle was rescued on Cayman Brac after it found its way into a swimming pool.

The hazards that this incredible marine creature encounters in its effort to reproduce seem endless, from being harassed in the water by swimmers and jet skis as they mate to the disorientation of the babies as they hatch caused by poor beach lighting. The DoE is urging people to help rather than hinder their efforts to replace their decimated populations by keeping their distance from mating turtles, removing beach furniture at night from nesting areas and ensuring that the only lights in and around beaches are turtle-friendly.

Poaching is not just confined to turtles and efforts continue to track down the worst offenders that regularly taking marine life from marine parks or out of season.

Last Friday conservation officers caught poachers in the Frank Sound Marine Reserve, which has been a protected area for thirty years. They recovered 195 conch and four lobsters, which were donated to the Pines Home, and the two suspects have been warned for prosecution as this is the closed season.

The Marine Parks Rules are detailed on the DoE website and an app has been created so that people can work out where they are at anytime.

People are urged to report any suspected poaching to 911.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (29)

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  1. Elvis says:

    Can only be locals

  2. Anonymous says:

    How do poachers know the camera isn’t working?
    Well..they do now.

  3. anon against ignorance says:

    Where else but West Bay, who else but WestB—–?.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi CNS – Are you able to provide a link or information as to where we can donate?
    Either here or within the article.

    Thank you!

    CNS: I would suggest calling the DoE at 949-8469 or emailing doe@gov.ky or messaging them through their Facebook page.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah! A secret charity. Almost like they are not really sure how it works..

      If you are raising money for something, especially as important as this, surely you don’t want to make it difficult for people to throw money at you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    what do you expect when we have a government that promotes, subsidises and sanctions the eating of an endangered species????
    welcome to wonderland.

    • Anonymous says:

      How dumb can you be. If not for the farm many more would be poached.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just stop eating turtle. Simple. Make it illegal and give people 5 years of a prison sentence for being caught with anything turtle related. Make an example of a couple jerks and this problem will most likely go away.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If DOE enforcement stopped certain officers from doing their own work instead of govt business, then they could the job they paid for by the public. Surely the superman chief will be saving the world for us? To hear him talk you think he was Caymanians super hero. What a joke they are.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is greed and stupidity. Nobody’s poaching turtle because they are hungry. They do it because they’re thieves, stealing a natural wonder from future generations.

    Before anyone claims traditions or culture, pipe down, it’s 2021. If you want to eat turtle, just eat the farmed stuff FFS.

  8. Anonymous says:


  9. Anonymous says:

    Cameras gonna change things…

    • Anonymous says:

      5:58 They have in the past as these cameras are live and alert enforcement officers to poaching activity in the area. It has worked very well and has allowed officers to intercept poachers.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The worst offenders are those developers and stakeholders for their monstrosity along our coastline, don’t blame the poachers and stop brain washing everyone to think that people surviving off the ocean is way worse than what those development giants are doing to this island, at this rate with all the steel and cement on this tiny island it won’t be long until the very seafood that’s protected will be feeding on our remains 30 thousand leagues under the sea.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:55 One wrong does not make another right… Poaching is equally if not more detrimental to our turtles. Although Cayman has seen an increase in nests over the years this is still down to a very few large turtles that have become more successful breeders. As a turtle becomes older and grows larger she is more fertile and is able to lay more nests (Greens can have up to 8 per season. However, losing even one of these old girls to poachers can have a detrimental effect on our turtle population as a whole. I can’t criticize people for eating farmed turtle meat as I eat farmed beef, chicken, and pork. However, if you want turtle meat get it from the farm not the wild. Construction is a threat predominantly to hatchlings. Bad lighting causes hatchlings to crawl away from the sea and often into roads or pools where they inevitably die if they are not found and rescued. This is also a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

      • Anonymous says:

        My point exactly, those hatchlings die in numbers when they wonder into our main roads even more detrimental to the breed than eating them,
        The turtles aren’t depleting they’re just scared to come to our beaches because of all the activities around the coastline, do you know that if a she turtle see even such as a cat walking on the beach she won’t come ashore, so therefore they will search for other secluded locations in the Caribbean to lay,
        Caymanians have been eating turtle meat since the beginning of time and up to this present time they’re still around, their only just repelled off from us because of the disco show they see from out at sea.

        • Anonymous says:

          Scientists estimate that approximately 1/100 hatchlings make it to sexual maturity (as they are killed by seabirds, crabs, fish, boat strikes, ghost fishing gear etc etc).. So I’m afraid you are wrong there. It is more detrimental to kill an adult nesting female than have one nest of hatchlings misorientate. If one nest fails there are other nests that might successfully make it to the water. But if you kill that nesting female then you screw up the whole life cycle. The DOE along with responsible beach property owners are already making a massive step to prevent hatchlings missorientating with the application of turtle-friendly lighting (red lights which is a wavelength turtles don’t easily see). Yes, Caymanians have been eating turtles since the “dawn of time” but our human population has increased beyond this being a stable or viable option. Yes, we do have turtles in our waters still but that is due to the DOE intervening decades ago and making wild take illegal for everyone except a few old catboat fishermen who have an annual quota. Turtles can be scared away but they do not go off island and find another island to nest on (tracking data has shown this). They will simply go back to the water and make a future nesting attempt. Adult turtles aren’t scared of lights or cats. Dogs and people yes but not cats which they outsize considerably. I’m not pulling all of these facts out of my backside. turtles take up to 25 years to reach sexual maturity. Removing wild breeding females would rapidly cause them to be extinct. Please buy your meat from the turtle farm and do not support or make excuses for poachers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point, but a lot (most) people are too greedy and scared) to even consider your point.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea, leave it to many Caymsnians and dome politicians, they will kill the last turtle, onnch,whelk.

      Most people do not understand natural resource management. That is why just about all breeding turtles originate from the turtle farm because the wild turtles have been poached.

  11. Anonymous says:

    And the poachers happened to know it was off or is someone at NCC chowing down on some nice turtle steak recently?

    • Anonymous says:

      They could look up and see ‘look, no camera’. Not everything is a conspiracy.

      Or is it?

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is just sad.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes we have to save as much turtles as possible .

    • Anonymous says:

      I ordering my big plate of cayman style turtle with rice and beans and breadfruit and cornbread, couldn’t tell you if it was poached or not but what I can tell you is from the first taste of it I really don’t care,lol you mofo’s be watching too much Nemo

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