Since 2009, Colin Riddell and Bob Irwin of "Save Australian Dugongs and Turtles" have been at the forefront trying to save Australia's fast disappearing turtles and dugongs. What they have uncovered with the help of former Sea Shepherd volunteer Rupert Imhoff, is compelling evidence of the cruel butchery and illegal trade of endangered dugongs and turtles in Queensland.
They have obtained shocking footage of the live slaughter of vulnerable dugongs and endangered green sea turtles, with some animals taking days to die. Endangered green sea turtles are being tied up, flipped onto their backs and left to suffer a painful death. Some are even being hacked at while still alive, with some taking over 7 minutes to die. The full expose can be seen here with a warning; this story contains distressing footage.
Community leaders admit that the primarily indigenous trade of dugong and sea turtle meat and products uses native title rights as its cover. The trade in endangered green turtles and dugongs has now become a black market industry.
Mandaburra man James Epong, who lives on his traditional lands an hour south of Cairns and Yarrabah, stated,"Nine times out of ten, the illegal trade is to sell the meat for grog money or drugs. One person we know of in Yarrabah made eighty thousand dollars one year from selling dugong and turtle meat.”
The Mandubarra people have declared a moratorium on taking turtle and dugong from their sea country, but around them, the illegal meat trade continues.
With the loss of vast areas of sea grass habitat due to the Queensland floods, entanglement in fishing gear and nets, the future for the endangered green turtles and dugongs looks bleak, unless we act now.
The oceans that give us up to eighty percent of the air we breath are in deep trouble globally. The single most important thing humanity should be focusing on is ensuring the biodiversity of the oceans.
There can be no special dispensation based on race or culture when it comes to the exploitation of an endangered species.
Sea Shepherd is backing Bob Irwin and Colin Riddell's call for a moratorium on Dugong and Turtle hunting in Australia.
To demand immediate action on a moratorium on turtle and dugong hunting in Australia, please write to: