The following article was written by a journalism student in San Antonio, Chile. Pretoma is pleased to support international campaigns regarding the protection of sea turtles but is not responsible for the information contained in the article.

DEAD SEA TURTLE IS DISCOVERED IN CHINESE RESTAURANT

By Lenka Macellari Zullivich
January, 2009

San Antonio, Chile–Last night at 11 PM in San Antonio an olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) was confiscated, which was being kept inside the Fung-Lu Chinese restaurant located on Pedro Montt street.

Olive ridley sea turtle

Olive ridley sea turtle

The incident was first reported by a witness via telephone to an ad-honorem SAG game warden who alerted him that restaurant employees had carried a sea turtle into the establishment via the back door, even though the turtle was transported on a tray underneath a table cloth; however, its flippers remained uncovered, which allowed for its identification.

Confiscation procedure

After receiving the tip-off, the witness, along with the SAG game warden, called for back-up in order to enter the now closed establishment, though the back storage room and kitchen located on Mauricio Mena street remained open.

After arriving on the scene, police and game wardens spoke with the restaurant’s owner who vehemently denied having a sea turtle inside his establishment. Officials asked for permission to search the storage room and kitchen and were granted entrance by the owner.

After searching for a few short minutes, authorities located the turtle in a refrigerator and immediately identified it as an olive ridley, corresponding to be a female that was being refrigerated to keep it cold, but not frozen, and would have been promptly eaten as the restaurant had already seated a “reserved table” consisting of ten Asians.

The law breaker Hong Gao -of duel nationality, admitted to knowing about the turtle after it was found but said that while he was out, a friend had left it there. Despite his excuse, he was served a citation by the SAG game wardens and is now required to appear at SAG’s San Antonio office where he will be given a chance to present his case and receive the corresponding punishment for his flagrant offence, made possible by the action of the ad-honorem game wardens.

The turtle’s cruel and painful death was caused by various blows from a blunt object as its captures took it from the ocean.

Hong Gao’s, our country’s Chinese resident, citation details his possession of a marine reptile that’s protected under the CITES Law (International Convention on the Trafficking of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna), one that prohibits the capture, sale, or possession of part or all of an endangered specimen, legislation that’s enforced not just in certain countries but rather around the plant.

Marine turtle protection

Olive ridleys are the smallest of the six species of the world’s marine turtles. They can grow up to approximately 90 cms and have high, asymmetrical carapaces composed of five to seven lateral scales per side.

They get their name from their olive green carapace color and their geographic distribution in Chile is from Arica to Concepción, and most often found in the central zone, but their population has been considerably reduced. Their diet is based on the ingestion of algae, though occasionally they consume fish and some crustaceans and jellyfish.

Turtles throughout planet earth’s history have been highly successful, for they live long before the dinosaurs and only man has placed them in danger to almost the point on their disappearance, it’s because of this that protecting these species is of vital importance.

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    The following article was written by a journalism student in San Antonio, Chile. Pretoma is pleased to support international campaigns regarding the protection of sea turtles but is not responsible for the information contained in the article. DEAD SEA TURTLE IS DISCOVERED IN CHINESE RESTAURANT By Lenka Macellari Zullivich January, 2009 San Antonio,...