Costa Rican police rescue second sea turtle from butcher this month

July 15, 2015
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Police in Limón have rescued a second green sea turtle in as many weeks that was likely destined for a soup pot.

Thanks to a tip from a neighbor, last week the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) rescued the 120-kilogram green sea turtle, which was found bound and lying on its back in a private home in Limón. Along with the turtle, authorities also found two red-lored parrots (Amazona autumnalis). No one was arrested.

Violating the Sea Turtle Conservation and Protection Law is punishable by one to three years in prison, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

The turtle suffered six harpoon wounds during its capture and was taken to the Jaguar Rescue Center where another 100-kilogram green sea turtle — rescued from a car trunk on July 3 — is recovering.

Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Veterinarian Fernando Alegre with he Jaguar Rescue Center said that the most recently rescued sea turtle was doing well and could be released within a week if its recovery goes well.

The turtle rescued earlier this month, however, remained in critical condition. Staff were able to patch two holes in the turtle’s damaged shell, but a puncture to its lung from a harpoon has complicated its ability to regulate its buoyancy, Alegre said.

Police arrested four suspects related to its capture, the Prosecutor’s Office said in an email.

Green sea turtles can weigh up to 320 kilograms (700 pounds). The creatures nest on Costa Rica’s Caribbean beaches from July to October and are often poached for their meat and eggs.

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