NEWS > EVERYONE ELSE > SEA TURTLES THREATENING CARIBBEAN AFTER BAHAMAS OUTLAWS KILLING
SEA TURTLES THREATENING CARIBBEAN AFTER BAHAMAS OUTLAWS KILLING
September 4 2009
Nassau, The Bahamas – The Bahamas has long been a place of dreams. White sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and luxury as far as the eye can see. Amongst its Caribbean brethren The Bahamas has long been the crown jewel for vacationers, the
place where true opulence and affordable vacations can meet. Now though the country has raised the ire of its neighbours by outlawing the killing of all sea turtles in its territorial waters and protecting breeding grounds for all species, a sharp turn from previous views on the animal.
Home to five of the seven sea turtle species the waters around The Bahamas have long been free of the encroaching turtle menace due to lax laws which allowed the slaughter of all but one species. Now, bowing to pressure from environmental groups and touristy officials, the Bahamian government has prohibited the regular slaughter of the animals which has tourists and neighbouring countries alike up in arms against the encroaching reptiles and the potential damage they will cause in the coming years.
“We are very perturbed by this development. The Bahamian government has not taken into account the effects of this law will have on neighbouring countries. Our country is largely dependent on the non-turtle based tourist culture and this development puts that at risk. Because they have been controlling populations of these pests for so many years through reasonable culling we have been virtually turtle free but now that will change. We will be speaking to the Bahamian government about this,” said an official from neighbouring Turks and Caicos.
Similar complaints have also come from Cuba and Florida and scientists fear that the turtle threat may stretch further throughout the region eventually reaching the shores of Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
“I didn’t come here for turtles. I came to relax. It’s bad enough having fish and seaweed in the water but now we will have to deal with this every time we come. Reasonable places control their wildlife especially in tourist areas and it’s really ridiculous that they are not willing to do that anymore. I can tell you that this will be our last trip to The Bahamas. Maybe Puerto Rico actually wants our money,” said one tourist from Oregon, expressing a sentiment felt across the tourist field.
Scientists believe it will take many years before the turtle population will grow to a level where it threatens humans but are concerned that it will reach a threshold beyond which control over the population will no longer be possible, allowing the animals to encroach on human territory.
“I’ve seen the beaches and I can tell you there isn’t a turtle in sight. I’ve been to some of the habitats where they have been confined for years and it is a stunning sight. They waddle around, take over beach space, and are quite aggressive around people, especially children. They do look cute but that belies their true nature ad what they are capable of,” said Caribbean correspondent Feliz Capres. “This new policy threatens not only the tourist industry but the very lives of the people who have made The Bahamas what it is today. Unless this is a part of some larger plan they could very well be doing more damage than good.”
There have been no recorded deaths attributed to turtles throughout the Caribbean in recorded history, though much of that is attributed to the controls which have now been lifted.
“The real threat is to the other countries in the region. The Bahamas has always benefited from being so close to the U.S. coast but it seems that they are not happy with that success. There is a real fear that they are changing these laws in order to create a kind of turtle army with which they could consume the other islands in the area and thus totally dominate the tourist trade,” continued Capres. “The real danger though is that the turtle army might turn on them and eventually consume the entire region. As cute as turtles are they are not exactly domestic. This could mark the first time humanity has lost territory to the natural world.”
U.S. officials are already in the area and are reportedly very concerned about any turtles straying out of Bahamian waters. They are reportedly considering a blockade of the island nation should the threat get out of control.