Sea Turtles have it hard. Despite environmental protections, turtles often end up in fishing nets. The beaches where they lay their eggs are increasingly developed. And now the creatures are becoming prey for poachers. The video below shows brazenly people hunting turtles for their eggs on a crowded beach.
The La Flor Beach Natural Reserve in Nicaragua is a nesting ground for the turtles. They struggle up the beaches and lay eggs in the sand. Yet these turtles are being taken before they can lay their eggs.
The video shows men taking the turtles from the water, throwing them over their shoulders, and carrying them away.
“This was the last time anyone saw this olive ridley sea turtle, a protected species often poached from the wild for their eggs,” The Dodo writes. “La Flor Beach Natural Reserve in Nicaragua is a hotspot for nesting females like this one — and despite it being a protected area, incidents like this are quite common there.”
The eggs are being sold as food. If the female turtles lay eggs in captivity, they will be kept alive–for a while. They are eventually killed and butchered for their meat.
This isn’t a matter of economic hardship, or food shortages.
“Unfortunately it is not uncommon, especially in places like Central and Latin America,” Lexie Beach, communications coordinator for Sea Turtle Conservancy told Dodo. “They are usually sold to bars or restaurants and eaten raw, or the raw egg is actually put into a beer. In some countries, sea turtle eggs are prized as an aphrodisiac.”
In this case, the viral video led to arrests. Four people were identified in this poaching incident, but the problem is much more widespread. The fate of the turtles remains unclear.
The most shocking part of this particular incident is the staggering level of bystander apathy. While someone filmed the incident, none of the others at the beach seemed willing to step up in defense of the turtles. That level of complacency speaks to the extent of the poaching. This crimes captured in this video are hardly unique.