BAMZ calls for awareness of endangered green turtles in Bermuda


In Bermuda, sailors were warned to watch their speed after a turtle was killed after being hit by a boat. Dr. Ian Walker, chief curator of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) made a plea for boat owners to be aware of the hazards posed to the endangered green turtles in the area. Caroline Skinner (The Royal Gazette) reports:

Karen and Andrew McKeown found the injured male green turtle near Robinson’s Marina in Somerset and rushed it to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo for treatment. Ms McKeown, of Somerset, said: “We found it in the shallow waters and we could see that his shell was damaged, so obviously he was hurt. “He was coming up for air but he wasn’t actually moving. He didn’t swim away from us which made us think that he was obviously hurt.” The couple and their 16-year-old daughter, Keri, took the juvenile animal, one of an endangered species of turtle, to the Flatts aquarium for medical attention. Ms McKeown said: “When we turned him over, we could see that all the underneath of him had also been hit. “What we saw on the top of the shell wasn’t too bad, but when you turned him over he had gashes and bits of skin missing.”

Ian Walker, principal curator at BAMZ, said staff attempted to save the animal, which was found on Thursday evening, but it was too badly injured and died yesterday morning. Dr Walker said: “He was put on pain relief, antibiotics and fluids, but the extent of his injuries were too severe. It’s almost certain it was a collision with something, most likely a boat or jet ski.”

Dr Walker added: “We get collision injuries more regularly during the summer. In all instances, there is signage where there are usually larger congregations of sea turtles. Mariners must observe those signs and slow down, and if you’re close to land, observe the speed limit because often in those shallow areas you’re more likely to come into contact with sea turtles that are feeding in those areas. It’s just a matter of slowing down, taking a moment to enjoy Bermuda’s beauty, and work with the animals that are also using the area.”

Ms McKeown added: “It was very sad. Keri was quite upset, because we had all hoped we’d be able to set it free back into the ocean. We live around the area. We see loads of turtles swimming in the waters and the boats are just going much too fast. They’re supposed to be watching their wakes and speeds. You never know what’s underneath you and I’m sure most of the boats could hit a turtle and not even feel it. At the end of the day, he was God’s animal and he had every right to be living in that area unharmed.”

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