Dozens of stabbed turtles found on Japanese island

(ORDO NEWS) — Several of the turtles had stab wounds to their necks and several had cuts to their fins.

Dozens of sea turtles have been found dead on the beach of a remote Japanese island, many of them stabbed in the neck.

Japanese media reported that the gruesome scene may have been caused by fishermen who tried to free the trapped animals from their nets, but decided to put them out of their misery.

Residents of Okinawa’s Kumejima Island discovered the bodies of about 30 green sea turtles last week after low tide, Osaka-based newspaper the Asahi Shimbun reported. Several of the turtles had stab wounds in their necks, and several others had bloody cuts on their fins.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible case of animal cruelty and are reportedly in the process of questioning witnesses.

“Many of them are entangled in fishing nets. I unraveled some of them and released them into the sea, but I couldn’t free the heavy ones, so I stabbed them to get rid of them,” the fisherman said, according to a source talking to Mainichi.

The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) can be found in waters around the world, and its natural range extends through the tropical and subtropical seas of the planet. However, this species and its home are facing growing challenges.

“I unraveled some of them and released them into the sea, but I couldn’t free the heavy ones, so I stabbed them to get rid of them,” said the fisherman.

This turtle species is endangered. Currently, their population is declining and they face many threats. Degradation of their natural habitat is a major problem, but one of the most detrimental factors is the deliberate collection of eggs and adults from nesting beaches.

Their diet mainly consists of algae and sea grasses, but they also feed on sponges, small invertebrates, and discarded fish. Unfortunately, their food supply is becoming increasingly contaminated with plastic.

In 2018, scientists studied seven species of sea turtles living in three different oceans and found that all of the individuals each one had microplastics in their guts.

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