Sharing space with turtles
By Antoinette Connell | Tue, July 31, 2012 - 12:00 AM
I recently took in a young lodger at the behest of my daughter.
The whole thing was partly orchestrated by my mother who had a similar lodger for a while now. I hadn’t given the idea much thought initially, I just went with the flow.
But sometimes I would look at my new roommate and wonder what have I gotten myself into? By mankind’s calculation he is already poised to outlive me even if I reach the touted three score and ten.
That longevity runs in his family is indisputable. On the bright side I did have a great-grandmother and some other relatives who reached their 90s.
Under our present arrangement this lodger will not only live under my roof until my, hopefully, timely demise, he will also outlive the offspring who fought so valiantly for his accommodation in the House of Connell.
Thus, I have resigned myself to that fate failing some divine intervention by the Creator or the rapid advancement of cryogenics.
On the plus side the lodger travels lightly, doesn’t take up much space and is a light eater. In fact set a couple leaves of lettuce and some water before him and he is taken care of for the rest of the day. He is very quiet except for those times when he attempts to get over some obstacle.
Sometimes I’ll sit and examine my house guest, observing the slow and deliberate way in which he consumes his food.
There’s almost a pause after he takes a bite of his lettuce, then the chewing starts. Often I’ll abandon my observation because the slow pace is enough to drive me out of my mind.
Truly when someone compares your movement to the pace of a turtle I don’t think it is a compliment.
But there are other things about this pet Chow Chow that now keeps me riveted. Sometimes at the appearance of danger or the unfamiliar he’ll retreat into this shell, his suit of armour.
His skin is wrinkled and though he is young he has the appearance of a very elderly man.
As I take in this not so appealing outer appearance there is something in his eyes that stirs me. That is usually the case with any animal especially those over which humans tower.
Looking into his eyes reminds me that he is a living, breathing thing existing on this earth with me.
Therefore it disturbed me when I read and heard about the callous slaughtering of sea turtles. I accept that some animals are here to provide food for others. Sometimes it can be a vicious food cycle but that is the law of nature.
But to hear field coordinator with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, Darren Browne, speak about the cold-blooded killing of some of the sea turtles really sent shivers down my spine. He felt, from what I understand, that some of the animal killers had no real reason for harming the turtles since not even the meat was taken.
That observation should concern others in authority. During some published interviews with killers and other violent criminals they admitted that they started out by killing animals.
Further, the destruction disrupts the marine turtle populations on the beaches we so proudly proclaim to the world as a major part of our tourism product.
However, the cause should be helped with the signage programme by Deloitte Consulting, the project and the National Conservation Commission. Signage to educate the public on the protection of sea turtle, are to be placed on beaches frequented by the turtles to enlighten the beach user on how to behave if they encounter the animals.
A small step but we look forward to a giant leap in awareness of the plight of the sea turtle.
• Antoinette Connell is Daily Nation Editor. Email email@example.com
- Editor's Choice