Saturday, June 30, 2012

2. Field Notes From Tobago

After a rather poor two weeks of collecting herps in northern Tobago, we moved to Crown Point in southern Tobago. One of the goals is to produce a list of species that use mangrove forests on Tobago. Yesterday evening was quite productive in mangroves. The list of species includes: the marine toad, Rhinella marina; the whistling frog, Leptodactylus fuscus; Garman's frog, L. validus; the house gecko, Hemidactylus mabuya; Richard's anole, Anolis richardii; and Ruschenberger's tree boa, Corallus ruschenbergeri. Most disturbing was a large butchered green sea turtle with only a maggot covered carapace remaining. This is the week of fishermen's festivals in T&T which are ritual celebrations of bountiful sea turtle harvests. The fishermen's fet's have now changed from slaughtering sea turtles, to music festivals. But based on what we found last night the change has only been for some; others continue to kill and sell sea turtles for meat. Poaching sea turtles appears to be under control in Trinidad, but out of control in Tobago. The demand for bush meat here is considerable and there is a strong hunting lobby that keeps the price for a hunting license and fines for violations low.
The turtle was found right at the entrance to Bon Accord Lagoon, below Mike Rutherford curator at the UWI Museum of Zoology posses next to the turtle carapace..
The turtle shell was found by its rancid odor.

No comments:

Post a Comment