Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tears for baby leatherback turtles

It is with disappointment, despair and dumbfounded shock that I write this regarding incident involving the tragic, heart-rending death of the turtles at Grande Riviere.

We are truly blessed to have these ancient creatures (Dermochelys coriacea—leather back turtles) visit our shores with the hope of the species carrying on. However, with idiots like the girl riding on the back of one, total disregard for signs placed all over the beach, and yesterday's bloodbath, how can the species thrive?

Agreed it was necessary for the work to be done; however had the proper co-ordination taken place, that tragedy could have been avoided. As I read the article in yesterday's Express, only tears of pain and hurt, and emotions of rage and anger could be expressed at the total disregard for these majestic creatures. Could we really put a value on the existence of a species? Is there a cost attached to avoid the extinction of creatures?

Within the last 100 years, which might I add is not a very long time, over 10 animals have gone totally extinct: The Tasmanian Tiger, the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times, last seen in 1936; the Quagga was a southern subspecies of the Plains Zebra in 1883; the Golden Toad native to the tropical cloud forests which surround Monteverde, Costa Rica in 1989; The Caribbean Monk Seal was the only known seal which was native to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico which was declared extinct in 2008; Javan tigers were a subspecies of tigers which were limited to the Indonesian island of Java last sighted in 1972 and the list goes on. What do you think is the cause of most of these extinctions? Yes! You guessed right…humans!

How would we look and feel if the following was to be quoted about the leather back turtles:

"…These ancient majestic creatures, nested mainly in the Caribbean were totally wiped out because of poor conservation and humans. In Trinidad 2012, over 1000 of these creatures were brutally savaged by an excavator which plummeted the species to the brink of extinction and they never recovered….."

Is this where we are going Trinidad? Making the creature another statistic? Another one of those creatures that we just talk and hear about? Something that we hear in stories and folklore? Something that our grandchildren and their children's children will never experience? Turtlewatching is a pastime that has been shared and passed on throughout the generations, and I would love for it to continue.

These creatures are at our mercy for their very existence; and we are treating it trivially and without any importance. Government bodies, officials or whomsoever, this is a plea to do something about this. This is not politics! These creatures are part of our ecosystems just like any other creature. Please Trinidad and Tobago, let us do something about this. We have to, we need to.

Nicholas Dass

via email