Mangled sea turtle found along Changi Beach

Mangled sea turtle found along Changi Beach

A jogger who discovered the carcass suggested that the injuries on the badly wounded turtle could have been inflicted by the propeller of a ship in the vicinity.

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SINGAPORE: The mangled carcass of a sea turtle was discovered at Changi Beach on Monday morning (Jan 2). The metre-long turtle was found with its shell sliced open.

“I was jogging in between the beach and the jogging track, and the stench caught my attention,” said Mr Chandran V R, who shared photos of the grisly find. “There was a very big gash on the turtle that was probably caused by a propeller. It was probably dead for at least one or two days.”

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(Photo: Chandran V R)

Mr Chandran added: “It is very sad to see such a graceful and rare giant turtle lay dead on our shores. We can learn from (the incident)."

“I hope more can be done (in terms of raising awareness) to avoid such tragedies in future, especially for our endangered animals," he said.

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore said it received feedback about the sea turtle at Changi Beach and alerted the National Environment Agency to clear the carcass.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) also said that it was notified of the find as well. "Unfortunately, we are unable to confirm the species of the turtle due to the poor condition of the carcass," said deputy chief executive Kalai Balakrishnan. "Having said that, almost all marine turtle species are either endangered or critically endangered."

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(Photo: Chandran V R)

Mr Stephen Beng, chairman of the Singapore Nature Society's Marine Conservation Group, told AFP that the creature appeared to be a female green sea turtle, which the environmental group WWF has classified as endangered.

"From the injury scars, it most definitely was a boat strike. The propeller mark was likely from a large one and it seems the turtle was making a dash for cover," Mr Beng said.

He highlighted that marine animals are at risk from boats because Singapore is one of the world's busiest ports and its shipping lanes "bisect the longer coastal beaches of our main island from the richer coral reefs of our southern islands".

Mr Beng urged boat crew to be vigilant to avoid hitting wildlife and said they should ideally maintain a distance of 50 metres and slow down when animals are sighted.

ACRES said members of the public should not approach or crowd around turtles "so as to not stress them and in the process prevent them from laying eggs".

"Marine turtles are sighted occasionally on our shores. You may observe them from a distance and if you do notice that the turtle may be injured or even stuck on foreign objects like netting," said Mr Balakrishnan.

Members of the public who spot animals in distress can contact the authorities, such as NParks and AVA, or call the ACRES wildlife rescue hotline at 9783 7782.

Source: CNA/AFP/xk