The Department of Fisheries has expressed grave concern about the discovery of two dead turtles this week on Vigie beach.
The turtles are believed to have been mauled by stray dogs, the department’s Communications and Information Officer, Yvonne Edwin, told St Lucia Times.
“On Monday we got a turtle that was left for dead on Vigie beach and this morning, another report,” Edwin disclosed.
She said all the evidence indicates that the adult Hawksbill turtles that had visited the beach to nest, were attacked by stray dogs which frequent the beach area.
The Fisheries Department official explained that the stray dog problem is exacerbated by the fact that the animals are being fed under what the department understands to be a ‘Bruno project.’
She said she did not know about the project or its origin.
“Apparently feeders have been installed at Vigie beach and from our information at Pigeon Island as well and this is causing a tremendous problem,” Edwin told St Lucia Times.
“It is an open access beach, it is a nesting beach – you have a lot of turtles frequenting the beach at this time and to have stray dogs being fed through some project that obviously, based on the reports we are receiving from the NCA and other persons with oversight over any beach in Saint Lucia, there was no request to install those feeders,” she asserted.
(‘Feeder’ installed at Vigie beach)
Edwin explained that the persons who installed the feeders should make contact with the appropriate agencies.
“It is obvious that the feeders have to be removed. Stray dogs are something we dealt with last year,” she recalled, adding that the Castries Constituency Council (CCC), the National Conservation Authority (NCA) and the Fisheries Department employed a dog catcher to address the problem.
Edwin declared that Saint Lucians should be concerned about turtles because they are endangered.
“Our tourists would come to Saint Lucia to see the turtles as they snorkel and dive. We know a lot of our traditional fishers depend on them for a livelihood as well and regionally, globally, turtles are protected,” she stated.
“Every animal within the ecosystem is important and as a department we protect and conserve our marine resources,” Edwin told St Lucia Times.