Group of endangered turtles found injured in Japan

A green sea turtle in Thailand, photo via อุทยานแห่งชาติหมู่เกาะสุรินทร์ - Mu Ko Surin National Park Facebook

A group of endangered green sea turtles was found with neck injuries in Japan last week. At least 30 of the turtles were found near an island in southern Okinawa prefecture. According to an official from Naha Police Station, some turtles were bleeding and barely breathing.

The official said the turtles’ injuries appeared to be caused by a blade. He said it is not known where the turtles are now, and they might have been swept away by the tide. Meanwhile, the police are investigating and questioning witnesses, he said.

A spokesman at a local sea turtle museum, Yoshi Tsukakoshi, said that some fishers consider sea turtles a “nuisance” because they rip the nets. Tsukakoshi added that the turtles’ diet is also a problem for some fishers. He said…

“Some fishers think the turtles eat all the seagrass before it grows and that prevents the fish from spawning in the area.”

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Green sea turtles are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Only one in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings are thought to make it to adulthood. Without guidance, many hatchlings die from dehydration because they don’t make it to the ocean fast enough.

But baby turtles’ tough journey doesn’t stop once they hatch. Artificial lights confuse turtle hatchlings and can cause them to waddle in the wrong direction away from the shore. Birds, crabs, and other animals also prey on baby turtles. Sea turtles are now also under threat from coastal development, overfishing, and bycatch.


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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.