South Coast turtle escapes poaching

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A turtle in Marburg escaped falling victim to a poaching incident after it was rescued from its buyer.

According to the KZN Marine Stranding Network, early in September, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Honorary Officers received information of a live turtle on a farm in Marburg.

After some investigation it was found to be likely that the turtle had been taken home as a pet but was later sold, presumably for food.

“The individual who purchased the turtle ran away from a security officer when requested to show the contents of the sack he was carrying.

“The Spca Lower South took possession of the turtle while the KZN Marine Stranding Network team was contacted for assistance to collect and transport to Durban for a health assessment.

“It remains unclear how long the animal had been out of the water,” the KZN Marine Stranding Network said in a statement.

The KZN Marine Stranding Network also said the turtle was taken to the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) and even though it went through a lot, it was in a relatively good condition.

“It appeared to have been in the care of someone as it lacked marine growth on its shell which is usually found on turtles at sea and the shell appeared to have been scrubbed or polished.

“A number of hooks were removed from its neck and beak. This animal was not a stranding per se but rather a poaching incident.”

The KZN Marine Stranding Network added that with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife no longer the fisheries custodians of the KZN coast, it was unclear how to manage this animal, but the KZN Marine Stranding Network were happy to assist in its rescue and thank the Spca Lower South, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Honorary Officers and Saambr for ensuring a happy ending for this turtle.

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