SOS Tartarugas works in Cape Verde protecting nesting loggerheads turtles (Caretta caretta) and their habitat. Cape Verde is the third most important nesting area for loggerheads in the world. Turtles are at risk from hunting for meat, stealing of eggs, removal of sand for building and unregulated tourism development. Our email is
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The grim reality

In this line of work you get a great sense of satisfaction but there are also truly disturbing moments. Two of our Rangers were moments too late to save a 90cm loggerhead female. During their patrol they found the tell-tale track indicating a turtle had been flipped on her back and dragged away. As they had passed that same spot recently they knew the killers couldn't have gone far and ran towards Santa Maria. They obviously disturbed the criminals as they had run away leaving their blood spattered knive and the bucket that they would have used to carry turtle meat. The turtle was still alive but her flippers had been removed, a slice had been made down the centre of her plastron and her innards were falling out where a cut had been made underneath the plastron. The poor creature was obviously in a state of great distress and clearly there was nothing anyone could do for her. Fortunately the Rangers were able to contact the vet who could inject her with anaesthetic and after ten minutes she died. This is in a place promoted to tourists as having tranquil, white sand beaches. My big question is and will always be, 'Why, if you have to kill a turtle, must you do it in such an inhumane way?' Would a quick cut to the throat really not be possible? We are a bunch of concerned people but it will take more than this. It will never stop until the government get serious about stopping it.

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