Rescue: Sea Turtle Eggs Saved from Poacher's Harm
On September 8, 2008 a Dominican villager called the local police and a member of the Mero Village committee called Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation (DomSeTCO), indicating that a turtle was killed by a poacher during the early hours of the morning at Mero Beach on the west coast of Dominica. The poacher fled the scene but has since been charged.
National Forestry & Fisheries officials and DomSeTCO staff went immediately to speak with the villagers on the matter and collected the deceased turtle. She was transported to the Fisheries Division where DomSeTCO opened the carcass, removed the mature eggs and placed them in prepared nests in tubs at Morne Daniel.
Seventy-six days later, on the night of November 23, 2008, the first fourteen hatchlings emerged.
On November 24, 2008, the community of Mero was informed of the exact timing of the release and DomSeTCO, with Marpin TV, went to Mero to release the hatchlings. We spent the afternoon in the community with the intention of releasing the hatchlings at about 5:00pm.
The time was chosen for the release for the following reasons:
- This is a suitable time for children to be present as our outreach work is also focused on children and young persons.
- It was important to release the hatchlings where everyone could
clearly see that they were returned to the village of Mero where the
mother had been killed.
- It was important that the villagers see for themselves and know
that no one had taken the killed turtle to eat the meat or the eggs.
- In that area the lights of the village are very bright and it has
been reported that hatchlings have been known to go towards the village
lights rather than out to sea.
- At 5:00pm on the west coast, the sun is still bright on the horizon.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare provided funds to Dominica
Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation (DomSeTCO) and the Dominican
Forestry and Wildlife Division for protecting sea turtle nesting sites
IFAW funds have enabled DomSeTCO to strengthen the working
partnership with the Dominican Forestry and Fisheries department. The
study beaches are in the northeast and southeast of Dominica but the
DomSeTCO outreach program covers the entire island of Dominica.
For more information about how you can help IFAW's efforts, please visit IFAW.org