One of the island’s endangered species of sea turtles was rescued this morning from possible death.
Field volunteer with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project of the University of the West Indies, Aaron Garstin, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, that a Hawksbill had been rescued from a drain between Water Side Apartments and The House at Paynes Bay, St. James.
Garstin said because the turtle was flipped on its back, it could have died from dehydration if he had not been rescued it in a timely manner. He said he went to the scene after receiving a call from the person managing the Barbados Sea Turtle hot line.
“Since there was no way of [the turtle] turning over herself from her back, she would have dehydrated and died,” the field volunteer added.
He also suggested that the Hawksbill might have fallen into the drain, since there was no other way she could have ended up there on her own. Responding to reports that the turtle was left tied up, Garstin informed this newspaper he had not seen any such evidence.
“She was brand new; which means we had not seen her before. She had no tag; so we tagged her and measured her and helped her back out to sea,” he revealed. “We have to check the drain frequently, otherwise a lot more turtles would fall in.”
Ninety nine per cent of the nesting of turtles in Barbados are by Hawksbills and this is done on the south and west coasts. He noted that Paynes Bay was an area frequented by the Hawksbill. The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle, with annual nestings in Barbados of just over 500 and an average population of about 1,000.
Meanwhile, a number of youth from the Paynes Bay area, who supplied Barbados TODAY with photographs and video of the drama, reported that when they first arrived on the scene the turtle was tried up with string and on its back. In fact, one of them, Justin Greaves, who lives a stone’s throw away, said he was among those who got a knife from a guard at a neighbouring property and freed the turtle.
However, he noted that since he was not aware of what danger the turtle might have been in they decided not to move it from being on its back until the experts arrived. James Broomes pointed out some of the red string which they cut away to free the turtle, stating they were convinced the person who captured it had intended returning for it later. (EJ)