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Authorities in Ensenada rescued three big sea turtles from certain death this week, according to the daily Frontera. The turtles had spent days imprisoned in a lavatory, their flippers bound with twine. The migratory marine reptiles, which arrive on the Mexican coast to lay their eggs, were found in el baño of a private home, alive but in poor condition. An anonymous informant tipped off local cops as to the whereabouts of the captured creatures.

The possession and use of the tortugas prietas (dark turtles) and their eggs is a federal crime in Mexico due to their endangered-species status. In the past their shells were coveted for industrial use as a raw material and were made into combs, eye-glass frames, and guitar picks. Their eggs were thought to possess magical powers, and were poached to facilitate curses and cures. And the soup wasn’t bad either.

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