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Hunters drag turtles to suffocate on the shore in Nicaragua

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 25, 2014

  • Hunters drag turtles to suffocate on the shore in Nicaragua

  • After the turtles were rescued and put back in the sea

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These shocking pictures reveal the alarming trend for turtle meat which sees hunters drag the huge amphibians from the water - before leaving them to SUFFOCATE on the shore.

British tourist Chris Skone-Roberts, 44, was horrified when he spotted two 5ft loggerheads sprawled on their backs struggling to breathe in the garden of a bar in Nicaragua.

He immediately tried to cover them in water but was pulled off by an angry woman who claimed they were hers.

It is believed, once dead, the woman would have sold the meat on the black market.

Chris frantically called the police to report the illegal activity, before rounding up a large group of tourists and divers to help rescue the dying animals on Little Corn Island off the east coast of the Central American state.

He said: "Sometimes you are faced with a situation so outrageous that you have no other choice than to intervene and right a wrong.

"These poor creatures are endangered enough but to leave them to die like this was inhumane so we had to act."

The team spent half an hour pouring buckets of water over the animals, which had their fins tied, in an attempt to revive them.

When they finally managed to rouse the weary animals officers ordered the turtles' release and they were quickly placed on wooden carts and wheeled back on to the beach.

Once in the water the rescuers, with the help of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit, marine conservation organisation, eased the turtles back into swimming before cutting their ties.

"We left them on their backs to stop them from struggling and tearing their fins apart," Chris, a PADI Rescue Diver and former paramedic, added.

"Once we cut the ties they went off like the clappers, it was wonderful to see."

A growing trend in sea turtle meat is thought to be behind the drastically reducing numbers of the endangered species across the world.

In Nicaragua it is estimated more than 35,000 sea turtles are killed each year so they can be sold at significantly high prices for their meat and eggs across the world.

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  • CostaCaribe4  |  August 26 2014, 11:34PM

    Although I vehemently disagree with the hunting of sea turtles, I think this article is a bit unfair and uninformed. These two Green Sea turtles released on Little Corn Island were most likely caught by Miskito fishermen on the Pearl Cays (about 15 miles away). The Mistiko people have been finishing these waters, and more particularly, these turtles, for centenary. This is not a new trend. The fishing of sea turtles is actually legal for indigenous and afro-decendent communities on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. Fishermen receive permits and are allowed to fish a pre-established amount of sea turtles per year. Much of the population on Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua does not have access to refrigeration, so when sea turtles are caught, they are turned on their back until they are butchered to insure that none of the turtle meat goes to waste. On the Caribbean Coat of Nicaragua the population tends to use sea turtles solely for their meat. Turtle eggs are not commonly eaten or sold. Turtle meat in this area is ONLY sold locally, at local prices (around USD *1 - USD * 2 per pound). For the author to say that these turtles were going to be sold at high prices on the international black market is unfair and uninformed. Sea turtles breath oxygen and can stay for extended periods of time out of water. For the author to suggest that these turtles were suffocating, is just not true. The turtles, however, may have been suffering from overheating, which can eventually cause death. I am most certainly not saying that the hunting and killing of Sea turtles is a good thing, but I just hope that people can understand the cultural context of the situation. The fact that white tourist "saved the day", adds to the patronizing, hero complex that helps perpetuate these problems. Yes this is a local problem, so lets look at local solutions. Check out http://tinyurl.com/l8kdw39

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