More Than 30 Endangered Sea Turtles Found With Stab Wounds To Their Necks On Island


    On July 14, employees of the Sea Turtle Museum of Kumejima hurried to the beaches of Kumejima island wafter residents made a report that dozens of green sea turtles were found with stab wounds to their necks and flippers.

    A number of turtles were reportedly found unmoving and bleeding when the employees arrived. 

    “Many of the turtles appeared dead. I have never seen anything like this before,” one of the workers told the Asahi Shimbun. “It is extremely difficult to process this.”

    The Kumejima Municipal Government and the Okinawa Prefectural Police are currently investigating the incident.

    It is believed the turtles were stabbed by fishers after they were tangled in fishing nets.

    “I disentangled some of them and released them into the sea, but I couldn’t free heavy ones, so I stabbed them to get rid of them,” one fishery operator reportedly admitted, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

    According to AFP, the fisherman confessed that he stabbed the sea turtles to death after they were entangled in his fishing nets. The fisherman,  who remains unnamed, said that he successfully released many of the sea turtles who were tangled up in his net. However, once he could not release the others, he began to stab them.

    Pictures released by the museum showed that the turtles were found floating in shallow water, according to BBC. Officials also found several stab wounds at the base of their necks while some were found on their flippers.

    The head of the local fisherman’s cooperative told AFP that the fisherman in question has never seen so many turtles on his nets and that “he regrets” stabbing them. 

    Green sea turtles are currently considered an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Japanese Environment Ministry. These turtles are often found in the seaweed and kelp beds off Kumejima island, where conservation efforts have been ongoing.


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