Injured Sea Turtle left to die

File Photo: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

ZIZ News…Jan 8, 2013 — The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network is asking persons for information regarding an incident which led to the death of Olivia, an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle which was being held at the St. Kitts & Nevis Aquaculture Pilot Project & Environmental Research (Snapper) farm in Conaree for rehabilitation.

According to a press release, On Saturday around 3:30pm Olivia was discovered unresponsive in the vegetation behind her pond at (SNAPPER). At some point that day between the hours of 10:30am and 3:30pm someone entered the SNAPPER Facility, removed Olivia from her pond, placed her in the bushes in the direct sunlight around 15 feet back from her pond, and left her there to die. A Fisheries Officer with the St. Kitts Department of Marine Resources discovered her and called the SKSTMN Team. She was evaluated at the scene and the Team was able to elicit limited reflexes. The decision was then made to go forth with emergency treatment in the hope that we could resuscitate her. After 11 hours of intense care unfortunately she succumbed to her injuries On Sunday morning at 5:10 am.

Olive Ridley sea turtles are not normally found near the shores and it was a surprise when Olivia washed in at North Frigate Beach in July 2009. She had lost both flippers on the right side of her body as the result of entanglement in fishing gear, had a fracture of the right eye socket, was unable to submerge, and was extremely emaciated. The SKSTMN Rehabilitation Team worked on her round the clock for 4 weeks until she was eventually able to regain strength, swim, and eat on her own.’

Olivia was described as an ambassador for her species. Over the course of Olivia’s stay she served as an educational animal for hundreds of children as a featured portion of Sea Turtle Camp and various field trips; was integral in the professional development of over 100 veterinarians, veterinary students, volunteers, and international Sea Turtle Research Assistants; was a featured animal in the SKSTMN Sea Turtle Adoption Program; and was the highlight of countless tours for international visitors.

The network does not believe the incident was an accident but rather an intentional malicious act. Therefore they are asking anyone with information to please contact the Sea Turtle Hotline at (869) 764-6664 or the Department of Marine Resources at (869) 465-8045.

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