According to a few Baja newspapers, a large loggerhead sea turtle — weighing over 100 pounds and measuring about 96 inches in length and 66 inches in width — was saved from certain demise by San Felipe municipal police on June 20.
The police received an anonymous tip via an emergency line, reporting that the seagoing leviathan was being hoisted into a van by three fishermen. In Mexico, the capture of such creatures, who navigate toward the beaches to spawn, is prohibited under the country’s endangered species act.
Police arrested the trio of tortuga trappers, giving only the first names of Miguel, 41 years old, Francisco Javier, 31, and Guillermo Horacio, 21. The three apparently were also in possession of a specialized net used to subdue the turtle at Campo Kikis, a beachside campground outside San Felipe.
The arrestees, referred to in one report as enemigos del ambiente (enemies of the environment), are subject to severe penalties under Mexican environmental laws, specifically: intentional capture and consumption of an endangered species as described by the official rules of the country’s environmental and natural resources ministry (SEMARNAT).
The turtle was examined by federal environmental protection agents (PROFEPA), who found the reptile to be in good health; it was then decided to return it to the sea.
This species of turtle, a caguama, has a long-honored cultural connection with the country; the name has been given to the squat, quart-sized, beer bottles that are served throughout Mexico.
Sources: El Mexicano, Frontera, El Sol de Tijuana