During the last week, the number of endangered dead sea turtles being washed ashore has become a great concern for the local conservationists and president of the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS), Annette Arjoon-Martins.
Speaking with Kaieteur News on Monday morning, Arjoon-Martins noted that although Guyana is fortunate to be the nesting place for four of seven species of sea turtles, the sudden increase in the number of dead sea turtles washing ashore has become startling.
The conservationist noted that on Wednesday last, the remains of a badly decomposed 1,000-lbs leatherback sea turtle washed up behind the Kitty sea wall.
She added that due to state of decomposition, determining the cause of death would pose a challenge to the GMCS.
Meanwhile, just three days after the remains of the leatherback sea turtles washed ashore, the GMCS was again alerted of a similar instance.
This time, the remains of the green sea turtle was found adjacent to the COVID-19 sanatorium (former Ocean View Hotel).
Arjoon-Martins said that investigations were carried out by representatives of GMCS, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Guyana Wildlife Management Commission (GWMC) as well as Conservation International Guyana, who all collaborated in the removal operation.
“The GMCS is of the opinion that cause of death was by vessel strike due to the left side of the turtle being intact and the right side burst open,” Arjoon-Martins said.
The remains of green sea turtle were collected and taken to the University of Guyana (UG), where additional investigations will be carried out.
Furthermore, Arjoon-Martins noted that she was thankful for the sea turtle monitoring programme at Shell Beach which has been in operation for the past four decades and praised the efforts of the sea turtle rangers access and ability to determine “straightforward” causes such as entanglement in fishing nets and vessel strikes.
However, she noted that the country still has a far way to go in terms of providing essential marine services, which she added, was presently absent.
Additionally, Arjoon-Martins said that a number of young Guyanese have completed studies in marine biology and related fields.
Once provided with the relevant equipment and facilities, she believes that they will be an asset in delivering the appropriate services.
She said, also, that there are several regional networks, which can be tapped into.
She has begun to works with graduates of the Caribbean Mammals Preservation Network (CARIMAM) with the expectation that they will benefit from relevant training and advice from the pool of technical experts at their disposal.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed the leatherback turtle as well as green sea turtle, also known as the Pacific green turtle, on their red list of endangered species.
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