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Blunt blow to head kills turtle

Heather-Lynn Evanson

Blunt blow  to head kills turtle

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THE ISLAND HAS lost another of its critically endangered turtles, this one so young its gender has not even yet been determined.
The juvenile Green turtle came ashore at Cattlewash, St Joseph yesterday, with a deep gash across the top of its head.
The force of the blow was so great it caused the turtle’s eyes to protrude. It later has to be euthanised.
The source of the blow is still yet to be determined but veterinarian Dr Gus Reader, who rushed to the scene after being called by the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, said when he saw the injury the only merciful thing he could do was to put the turtle to sleep.
“It’s a heavy blunt injury, probably from an edged implement. It could be a propeller, it could be a collins, it’s hard to tell the difference but soething with an edge moving fast and it just crushed her skull,” he said.
The injury was barely hours old, he added.
Field director of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, Dr Darren Browne, said they got the call of a turtle in distress around 7 a.m.
“My initial assessment was I didn’t think it was a propeller because usually you have parallel lines. I thought it was either impact with a small craft, not even a boat, maybe a surf board or a jet ski, but definitely a lot of force behind it because it forced the eyes out of the socket, or that somebody had actually bludgeoned it with some sort of long, blunt instrument because the force was distributed across the forehead,” he said.
Browne noted that given the amount of algae growth on the shell of the turtle, which indicated it was keeping close to the surface and not diving as much, it might have been ailing and unable to swim quickly out of the way of an oncoming surface object.
Browne and his core volunteers Carla Daniel and Robert Rogier were unable to determine the sex of the turtle due to its young age. It was only ten years old and turtles get their sexual characteristics between 15 and 18 years.