Fisherman held with six protected turtles

An Ica­cos fish­er­man held with six adult tor­tois­es is ex­pect­ed to ap­pear in the Point Fortin Mag­is­trates Court on Tues­day.

The yel­low-foot­ed tor­tois­es, al­so known as the Brazil­ian gi­ant tor­toise, were found in a cro­cus bag in the truck of a ve­hi­cle en route to San­gre Grande.

Act­ing on in­for­ma­tion, around 7.45 pm of­fi­cers of the La Brea Po­lice Sta­tion stopped a sil­ver wag­on along the South­ern Main Road, near the Rousil­lac Pres­by­ter­ian School. There were four oc­cu­pants in the wag­on, in­clud­ing the fish­er­man who was in the back seat.

Up­on search­ing the ve­hi­cle, the po­lice found a cro­cus bag with the tur­tles. The fish­er­men claimed own­er­ship but ad­mit­ted he did not have a per­mit to have the rep­tiles in cap­tiv­i­ty.

Tur­tles are among the pro­tect­ed an­i­mals in T&T. The tur­tles, five fe­males and one male, are be­lieved to be be­tween 15 and 20 years old and weighed over 15 pounds.

Po­lice sus­pect that the tur­tles were smug­gled in­to the coun­try from Venezuela. They were be­ing tak­en to San­gre Grande to be sold, po­lice said.

Game war­dens Steve Seep­er­sad, Andy Singh, Bisham Mad­hu and Je­re­my Din­di­al were con­tact­ed and went to the Guapo Po­lice Sta­tion. The tur­tles were hand­ed over to of­fi­cials of the zoo while Seep­er­sad charged the fish­er­man with six of­fences of keep­ing a pro­tect­ed an­i­mal in cap­tiv­i­ty with­out a per­mit. The of­fence car­ries a max­i­mum fine of $10,000.

The tur­tles are ex­pect­ed to be brought to court for the fish­er­man’s ap­pear­ance.

- by Sascha Wilson

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