For more than a year there was a turtle living at Fish Eye Marine Park. He ate the food that they threw in the water for the fish, and visited with the tourists. Some people called him “Larry,” and other people called him “Crush.”
I don’t know what he called himself.
However, he had a small metal tag under each front flipper. One said NOAA Maui USA, and the other said PI2775. He was a green sea turtle who was approximately 50 years of age, and he had a girl turtle in the Piti Bomb Holes near by that he seemed to visit with.
In Mid-July, the tour operators at Fish Eye watched as people from the Department of Agriculture came and took Larry the turtle away.
They said they were taking him “to study,” according to the tour operators.
However, when we called the Department of Agriculture, they claimed that the turtle “was a nuisance” and so as moved “to the other side of the island.”
Now of course, this was not his first time being caught on Guam. The Marine Biologists at Underwater World took him for study. They weighed him, measured him, and then released him on the other side of the island.
He swam right back, because he enjoys people and food.
However, after the Department of Agriculture claims to have taken him “to the other side of the island,” he did not swim back.
He was a very strong swimmer, and you can be sure that he was capable. How can you be sure, you ask? Well, the people at Underwater World were actually hoping that they could find some evidence that his rear flipper (which was damaged) made it too difficult for him to be in the wild.
They hoped this because they have a rescued sea turtle in the aquarium already, and they hoped for a second.
However, according to the laws governing the treatment of an endangered species, if they are found to be able to survive on their own, they cannot be “rescued.”
Ergo, we know that if the turtle had actually been released by the Department of Agriculture, he would have swam back as he had done before.
We cannot make conclusions from the information that we have. However, we can know two things for sure.
1. Turtle meat fetches a high price on Guam and on the other islands in the chain, because the Native people eat turtle. They know that these turtles are endangered, but some choose to do it anyway. Anyone who took the turtle to sell would have made a LOT of money.
2. They were very suspicious on the phone and asked for my husband’s full name and information before claiming that the turtle was moved. If they are keeping track of who is asking, then one would suggest that they have a reason to be worried.
I am not saying that the Department of Agriculture sold the turtle. However, I am saying without a doubt that they were the last people to have him, and that in two months, he has still not been sighted anywhere else.
If they did not sell him, then their choice to move him certainly seems to have brought about his untimely demise, leaving his girlfriend single and removing his genes from the species.
Furthermore, I spoke with several tour operators who said the initial complaint against the turtle was falsified.
They claim that he was good for business and made the tourists happy and that they would never have done anything that led to his removal.
It is certainly suspicious.
I hope that there will be an investigation, since selling an endangered species for profit is obviously illegal. However, given the diminished funding of the EPA, I worry that justice will not be served.
I have also not seen the female turtle who was hanging around the Piti Bomb Holes near Fish Eye. However, I am not sure that not seeing her is significant. Green Sea Turtles are not social, and it is possible that she was just around to “visit” a boy turtle for a bit.
This is what she looked like:
If you look, you can see that you doesn’t have a tail that extends past her shell, or claws on her flippers. Only males have those traits (which is actually to hold onto the female’s shell.)
She was a little smaller than the male turtle, but they seemed similar in size and age.
The point of this post is that if anyone has any information about the green sea turtle lovingly called “Larry” or “Crush” who used to live at Fish Eye Marine Park, please let me know.