It was a mild drama on Sunday, the 11th December as a marine turtle was caught by the local fishermen at the ‘Point Of No Return’, a popular tourist attraction beach in Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria. The turtle was then sold to female handlers who loaded huddled onto motorcycle for onward transportation to a fish market in the town an have it sold for consumption.
Seeing how much this beautiful Olive Ridley turtle “meat” (as it’s been referred to by the locals) had suffered in the hands of the handlers and subsequently sold as delicacy.
Segun Adebiyi a tags publisher, who was at the scene of the event pleaded that the reptile be released to it natural habitat, Adebiyi explained the need to preserve these special creatures to prevent their extinction. After much negotiation pleading and bargaining, Adebiyi paid N25,000 to have the creature returned to the ocean.
But the fishermen insisted in catching the turtle again immediately after it’s released to the ocean it had been brought, it then belong to them again, to which the purpose of buying the special specie would have been defeated.
Realizing the fishermen were not ready to shift ground, the turtle had to be transported in a car to another nearby Sultan beach, there another drama erupted as the beach boys and the community boys prevented Adebiyi and his team from releasing the turtle into the ocean.
Again, $20 was given to the boys before the creature was allowed to return back home where it belongs. The most rewarding moment was to see turtle as it swam back to the ocean.
Sea turtles are generally found in the waters over continental shelves. During the first three to five years of life, sea turtles spend most of their time in the pelagic zone floating in seaweed mats.
Green sea turtles in particular are often found in Sargassum mats,in which they find shelter and food. Once the sea turtle has reached adulthood it moves closer to the shore. Females will come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the nesting season.
Human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation.
They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites.
It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.