The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment supervised the release of a critically endangered turtle back into the wild this morning, at the Belle Carapouse Bay in Belle Garden.
The Hawskbill Sea Turtle or Eretmochelys imbricata was discovered in September 2012 trapped in debris along the beach, by 14 year -old Thea Quaccoo. The teenager was allowed to care for the animal which she affectionately named “Turtle Joe” until it was mature enough to survive on its own.
The turtle was examined by Veterinary Officer Dr. Michael Downes, and Wildlife Biologist, Ms. Angela Ramsey on July 1st 2013, and was found to be healthy and kept exceptionally well considering that it was kept in captivity. However, the wildlife experts concluded that although it is still immature, it was necessary to release the animal now, in order to give it an opportunity to survive in its own environment.
According to Renardo Daniel Game Warden 1 who has responsibility for turtle management “the Hawksbill sea turtle is considered a critically endangered species which is prized for its shell and meat.” Mr. Daniel explained that as an adult, the Hawksbill turtle lives around reef areas feeding on corals and crustacean, while helping to maintain the balance of the reef.” The game warden also stated that “a mature turtle will lay 100-140 eggs and as little as 10% of hatchlings would survive”.
For her contribution to preserving wildlife and the environment, Thea will be presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Department of Natural Resources & the Environment (DNRE), Wildlife Unit, and will be invited to participate in Outreach and Education Conservation programmes organized by the Department.
For further information please contact the Corporate Communications Unit of D.A.M.M.E. at 635-1612 ext.3569.