Wild green turtle poached from WB beach

| 22/10/2014

(CNS): Poachers are believed to have illegally taken a nesting green turtle from a beach in West Bay. While on patrol recently the Department of Environment (DoE) Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr said he discovered signs that the adult female was dragged off when she came onto the beach to lay eggs. “This incident was discovered on 6 October,” he said, adding that it was not an isolated incident. “This summer, DoE volunteers also discovered parts of a slaughtered loggerhead turtle in North Side. We don't believe these are isolated incidents; we believe other, undetected incidents have also taken place.”

The DoE also said that results from new and ongoing research show the urgency of reducing the illegal take of green turtles from Cayman's small nesting population as there is evidence that significant numbers of the endangered wild marine creature are being poached.

Research involves a night-time tagging project, funded by the UK Darwin Initiative and launched in June 2014, and a daytime beach monitoring programme that began in 1999.  DoE Research Officer Dr Janice Blumenthal said there are serious concerns about the population despite the increase in nest numbers since 1999, when daytime monitoring of beaches in Grand Cayman started. 

“We've seen an increase from a low of only one nest in 1999, to a high of 181 nests in 2012,” she said.

While the daytime monitoring establishes the number of nests each year, it only provides one side of the story – it does not allow a precise determination of the number of females nesting. This is where the tagging of turtles proves useful.

“The true number of turtles nesting each year in Grand Cayman was unknown until the Department began its Darwin-funded, night-time tagging programme,” Dr Blumenthal said. “We know that the 131 green turtle nests found in Grand Cayman so far this year were not laid by 131 turtles. Our challenge was to tag and individually identify nesting green turtles to determine how many females laid these nests,” she added.

By cross referencing the new night-time tagging data with information gleaned from the department's longstanding daytime monitoring efforts, the DoE is now refining estimates of the number of green turtles in the nesting population, and better estimating the contribution of the Cayman Turtle Farm to wild nesting populations, with the goal of protecting nesting turtles. The purpose of the daytime monitoring is to establish the number of turtle nests laid each year, in order to indicate population trends.

Female green turtles can each lay up to six nests per season; and they typically nest every two to three years, rather than every year.

DoE staff and volunteers tagged 21 green turtles in 2014 and, while the research is ongoing, preliminary results suggest that these turtles represent the vast majority of this year's green turtle nesting population, with each turtle laying up to six nests. This indicates that the illegal take of turtles poses a serious problem, because the overall population size is extremely low.
“It's clear from our preliminary results that populations are even smaller than previously thought, and thus more vulnerable to threats such as illegal take,” Dr Blumenthal warned.

Losing evenone turtle means six fewer nests – and, as turtles lay more than 100 eggs per nest, this means 600 fewer eggs in that turtle's nesting year. This reduction affects the population for every year that the turtle could have continued to nest.

Orr said that, because of the very low numbers of nesting turtles on our beaches, DoE considers illegal take of turtles to be one of the most serious conservation offences. Past cases of this nature have resulted in fines and prison sentences, and any equipment including vehicles and boats used in the offence may be confiscated by the courts. Anyone with information regarding illegal take of turtles is asked to make a report to Mark Orr by calling 916-4271; 911; or Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS.

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    People would be shocked to know who buys poached turtle meat for their restaurant!!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you know you should report them to the police, unless of course you're bluffing.

    • Anonymous says:

      One more 'non' shock this week is not a problem, Anonymous go ahead and tell us….

  2. Anonymous says:

    They should be sent to prison for 5 years! People times have changed and we need to change with it ! It is not your right to take turtles at this time . Our families that founded this island ate turtles as they were plentiful then . They were trying to live and those were hard times . My mother told me stories and they did not go hungry but they did not have much. Fast forward to today . Everybody has a car ,cell phone and so many opportunities . Turtles are on the endangered list for a reason!! Eat something else! Time to stop or they will be just a memory .you have NO INHERITED RIGHT to take turtles .

    • Garfield says:

      Illegal Spear Fishing Off 7 Mile Beach

      For the past few weekends I have seen locals spearing fish off the reef just north of Tiki Village.

      They are not fishing for Lion Fish but other types of large reef fish while snorkelling. They have a big bag attached to their waists with all of their fish . I tell them to stop but they just tell me to F@@@k O&&.

      I would appreciate if someone could tell me what I should do noting that it is the weekend when,they spear fish.

      There soon will be no reef fish left on Seven Mile Beach around the reefs if this continues.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you think it's wrong and care enough to do something about it, call the numbers above.  Put them in your phonebook.

      • Anonymous says:

        Call Mark Orr – he will stamp out this foolishness

      • Anony-me says:

        A) Call Department of Environment Enforcement: 916-4271

        B) Call 9-1-1

        C) Wait to see how long the response time is and post it back here on Monday.

  3. Dat wha ya get says:

    Some people think it is their birthright to take whatever they want from the sea.  Caymankind at its finest!

  4. Anonymous says:

    caymankind…..

    can you blame anybody….just look at the vile disgusting mess that is the turle farm……

    • Anonymous says:

      13:39, whether you like it or not, the fact of the matter is that our Turtle Farm is most likely the only reason why these turltes still exist in and around the Caribbean.

      As you can see from this article, there are a select few in Cayman who don't give a F, and are risking these animals extinction for their next hit, so without our Turtle Farm, I can guarantee you they would already be gone long time.

      TheTurtle Farm needs to be immproved, not shut down.

       

       
  5. Anonymous says:

    For heavens sake employ effective Conservation Officers NOW. Give them the NCL powers and the equipment they need to catch these law breakers and throw their asses in jail.

    I have heard that there are only 5 full time CO's employed for the entire island, and one of them is the Chief. This is outrageous and should be rectified as soon as possible. The officers must know who the main offenders are, they just haven't got the resources to deal with them. Widespread poaching of marine life is going unchecked and unpunished, turtles, conch, lobsters and whelk are being taken in industrial quantities, but where are the DoE boats that should be available to chase down waterborne offenders, and where are the land based officers to back them up. Where is the dedicated sandbar officer, why isn't there an enforcement presence overseeing  ALL the boats and visitors to this precious resource?

    And if proof of this crime was needed, take a look at the waters and marine park surrounding Rum Point and across on the sandbar. There are thousands of empty conch shells lying in swathes upon the sea bed, look along the rocky foreshore and see the empty whelk shells littering the bottom. Butchered lobster carpaces are often seen out of season floating around public docks and along the foreshore. 

    There needs to be some serious questions asked of the DoE management, especially the enforcement department whose small team gets little in the way of support from above. It's no good spending piles of money on research or scientific study if there's nothing left to leave our future generations.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CaymanKind

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think If you want to eat a turtle GROW YOUR OWN….. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Listen to the outrage and public condemnation from West Bay, North Side MLAs, Premier, etc….deafening silence from fat cats that don't exercise their duty.

  9. Knot S Smart says:

    Horrible…

  10. Anonymous says:

    What? No tasty stew remarks from the peanut gallery?

  11. Anon. says:

    Damn humans.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not worried about getting caught, like the rest of the criminals on this island. Disgusting. Lets hope the wrong person catches u in the act someday.

    Worthless police. Guess there is not enough of them. Hell, 400 plus police and they can't find tinted windows or license plate covers.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You aint seen nothing yet just let them close the turtle farm. There wont be a turtle withn 200 miles of Cayman 

    • Anonymous says:

      who cares? Caymanians obviously don't care what is left for their children.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Poor people (well) fed up!

  15. Anonymous says:

    friggin SCUMBAGS !!!

    at least they could have let her lay her eggs

    Very sad …them is to lazy to go fishing ?

  16. JohnDoe says:

    It will only happen more if the turtle farm succumbs to the WSPA’S wishes! Open your eyes my fellow Caymanian, turtle is a part of our cuisine and nobody should interfere with our culture!

    • Anonymous says:

      In my culture people who did not follow the rules where killed.  It worked better for the country then your culture is working for yours.

    • troll says:



      Put your name to it ?

  17. Nedrick says:

    Does anybody know if there is a need for further volunteers to help with the program, and if so…who to contact to offer to volunteer? Thanks.

  18. Green Hornet says:

    An even bigger problem is the continuation of turtle fishing licenses, and the strange arrogance of certain people who hold them. Such licenses should immediately be cancelled. You might think you are "legally" taking turtles when you are, in fact, hastening the demise of an endangered species. Of course, when there are no more turtles left to fish, poach and eat, and the turtle farm has been closed down, somebody else will be blamed for the extinction of the species.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I hope these killers rot in hell.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So sad, but it's done because "we Caymanian & have always done it" so it won't change.

  21. Anonymous says:

    When are we ever going to get rid of the trash on this island, and I dont mean the mountain in georgetown.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Noooo!! Leave the turtles alone! 🙁

  23. Anonymous says:

    Those expats who got status in 2003 must be to blame. After all, they seem to be responsible for all the other problems in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      I must admit, when the golf-course is closed and there isn't a Cancer society Walk-a-Thon my Canadian auditor friend and I poach turtle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont forget the expats! They are and should be blamed for everything from heamorrhoids to high tides. And especially turtle thieving.