Nature Foundation sounds the alarm: Illegal online sale of protected sea turtlesPOSTED: 07/16/15 4:53 PM
GREAT BAY – The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation expressed concerns about the growing number of wild animals that are offered for sale online on social media marketplaces on both sides of the island. The foundation found posts about the sale of endangered sea turtles, which it called a highly illegal activity.
“We are having grave concerns about people who sell endangered and wild animals online. Last week raccoons were sold and over the weekend sea turtles were up for sale. These are serious matters primarily because of the unregulated sale of an invasive species like the raccoon that can be wild and dangerous and which may carry rabies. Sea turtles are a critically, locally and internationally protected species,” the foundation’s manager Tadzio Bervoets said in a press release.
“We managed to solve the issue bout the sea turtles. No animals were harmed, but there is a serious need for the administrators of social media and residents alike to know their responsibilities about wild and protected species on the island.
The Nature Foundation emphasized that protection of sea turtles is imperative: due to human impacts the population has plummeted to low numbers throughout the past century. Because of this, many species have been listed as critically endangered meaning that they are nearly extinct. To reverse this trend, all sea turtles species are now protected by international laws and treaties and by local laws. This means that it is illegal to kill, wound, capture or pick-up sea turtles and it is forbidden to disturb, damage or destroy sea turtles nest, lairs or breeding grounds.
“There was a hatching of a nest on Great Bay Beach of leatherback sea turtles which was very successful. We need to maintain the protection of these critically endangered species,” Bervoets said.
“We constantly monitor social media and marketplace sites for incidents like these and we report them constantly. We also would like to remind the public that there are penalties involved in this activity, especially for protected species.”
The foundation calls on the public the to report sea turtle nesting and illegal activities by contacting the Sea Turtle Hotline 9229, the Nature Foundation at 544 42 67, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org