Last week we told you about a number of turtle nests along outer Princess Street in Kingston at the Westbrook wetland and how they were destroyed and eggs illegally removed. Now we can tell you that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is investigating.
“We believe that the eggs were taken by a person or persons who are not legally allowed to obtain these eggs. So we believe it is a poaching incident,” said Jeremy Jackson, a conservation officer with the ministry.
The poaching took place sometime between Saturday, Aug. 22 at around 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. the following day — Sunday, Aug. 23. Jackson says the agency is looking for public assistance in the case.
“We’re looking for the public’s help with finding who’s responsible for taking these eggs. Over 100 eggs, snapping turtle eggs and midland painted turtle eggs — and we’ll be hoping that the public can assist with providing us with some information via vehicle or a person, or persons responsible for doing this.”
Mabyn Armstrong is with Turtles Kingston, a local conservation group. Global News spoke with her less than 24 hours after the incident. At that time she put turtles in perspective.
“Turtles are the janitors. They’re your freshwater cleaners — they eat huge amounts of carrion, decaying flesh, decaying vegetation. They keep your waters clean. If you were to remove them from these freshwater reservoirs, they would implode with bacteria.”
Turtle poaching is apparently not uncommon — at least that’s what the people at “World Animal Protection” are saying. Melissa Matlow is a spokesperson for the global charity.
“People are seeing that we are losing our wild animals at an alarming rate — all turtle species involved in this trade are threatened with extinction and for what — for luxury products that no one really needs. So I think that’s why people are alarmed — and that’s why our polling showed that 75 percent of Canadians want to see the Canadian government take action on this issue.”
Anyone who witnessed anything to do with this incident can call the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or through their online reporting form at crimestoppers.ca.