A 35 year old local man was arrested this Sunday 25th August around 1.00pm by the National Police in Porto Inglês, Maio while butchering a sea turtle.
According to the coordinator of the sea turtle patrol campaign Maio Biodiversity Foundation, Leno dos Passos said that they received a complaint from a passerby who was in the vicinity of the salt harbor of Porto Inglês. When the passerby found the carcass, he immediately contacted the Maio Biodiversity Foundation, but foundation volunteers were already attending the rescue of two turtles that were trapped elsewhere.
“After the rescue and when we returned, we also contacted the police and went straight to the location of the carcass. It was then when we met the defendant, who had also returned to remove the last bits of meat and some eggs. He was immediately attested by the police.” said Leno dos Passos.
Dos Passos explained that this was the first recorded case in 2019. He took the opportunity to draw people’s attention as not to consume turtle meat. Not only for being a crime, but also as a public health concern.
“Consideration should be given to how this meat is prepared, often in the dark and in inappropriate places. In this particular instance, the man was butchering the turtle in one of the beach resort buildings that people use for toilets. In fact, this turtle meat was already showing signs of larvae infection.”
Leno dos Passos urged people to remain vigilant and report suspected cases of capture. He asked people to stop the practice of eating turtle meat because it is a criminal offense that can lead to several years in prison.”
Cape Verde is an important habitat for loggerhead and other turtles, including the fairly recently returned Olive Ridley sea turtle that has been recently been spotted on the islands. The archipelago is also a sanctuary for marine and migratory birds. However, The slaughter of turtles for meat consumption and the destruction of nesting habitats due to the development of the tourism industry are the main human caused threats to sea turtles in the Cape Verde Islands. The conservation status of the Cape Verde Loggerhead turtle population is of great concern.
On the popular tourist island of Sal, you can still find Loggerhead turtles nesting sites on most of the beaches. The main Santa Maria beach used to be an important spot, but because of the lights and tourism development these days, they have stopped coming to that beach to nest.