Nassau, The Bahamas (PressExposure) August 05, 2008 -- Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group - [http://www.saveourseaturtles.com], a new organization with wide support from the animal rights community, is going international in a campaign to end the harvesting of all sea turtles in the country. "It's a national disgrace that these magnificent animals are still hunted at all, and that they are so cruelly treated when brought ashore," said Jane Mather, President of Advocate for Animal Rights, a spokesperson for the new group. "Fishermen bring the creatures ashore with their flippers pierced and tied with straw; they are routinely dragged on to boat ramps and turned on their backs and left to suffer for days in the hot sun," said Mather. "I have seen children jumping on and torturing the helpless animals and I have seen them dragged away attached to the back of trucks."
She noted that Bahamas fisheries laws still allow the catching and slaughter of certain turtles, even though The Bahamas is a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which calls on member states to protect all marine turtles as endangered or threatened.
Nine sea turtles have been rescued from fishermen over the past couple of years, rehabilitated and returned to the sea. But fishermen are now catching the turtles knowing that conservationists will buy them in order to release them. The conservation group is selling "stop the killing" bumper stickers to promote the campaign locally and will be creating an Internet site to bring pressure on the Government of The Bahamas to protect sea turtles. Their online Internet advertising campaign has registered more than 50,000 hits from around the world in less than three weeks, and that number is increasing, Mather said. The group produced the Internet ads to create international awareness of the cruel slaughter of turtles in this tourist nation.
According to Mather, headlines like "Stop the Killing," "Stop the Slaughter," "Save The Bahamas Sea Turtles," and "If Cuba can protect Sea Turtles, why can't The Bahamas," will reach hundreds of thousands of Internet users to encourage them to sign a petition urging the Bahamas government to enact legislation to stop the slaughter of Bahamas sea turtles.
Other organizing members of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group include Deborah Krukoski, vice president of Animals Require Kindness (ARK) and Kim Aranha, president of The Bahamas Humane Society. Several other organizations actively support the new group, including The Nature Conservancy, BREEF, the environmental group ReEarth, the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (the oldest turtle group in the world), Earth Care, the Grand Bahama Humane Society, Unexso Dolphin Experience, Grand Bahama Nature Tours and the Andros Conservancy and Trust.
In announcing the formation of the new group, Mather noted that Cuba had banned the harvesting of all marine turtle species last January. These include green and loggerhead turtles, listed as endangered by the IUCN-World Conservation Union, and hawksbill turtles, which are "critically endangered" according to the Union's Red List of Threatened Species. "If Cuba can take such a far-sighted decision, why can't The Bahamas?" Mather asks. She added that a failure to stop the mistreatment and killing of turtles could negatively affect eco-tourism, an important sector of the country's number one industry. "Since they have more to lose than many tourism dependent nations, Bahamians should take their place at the forefront of the worldwide effort to stop the killing of these beautiful, gentle animals and insist that the government take early, decisive action," Mather said.
Several concerned Bahamians have launched a continuing online petition (on Care2petition.com) calling for a turtle-harvesting ban that has been submitted to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Minister of Fisheries Larry Cartwright and the Minister of Tourism. Yet, months later, "nothing is being done," said Mather.
About Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group: Out to protect the interests of turtles in The Bahamas, The Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group ([http://www.saveourseaturtles.com/]) is a new organization for animal rights and strives to make the hunting of turtles redundant. Presently, the organization is going international in a campaign to end the harvesting of all sea turtles in the country.
For more information, contact: Jane Mather Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group Phone: (242) 393-2205 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Site: [http://www.saveourseaturtles.com]