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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014 - 5:05:44 PM


Turtles - Part Two!
By Kim Aranha, President, Bahamas Humane Society
Mar 8, 2009 - 4:03:54 PM

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Once again I turned to the general public for assistance and support, and once again, I am totally overwhelmed by the instant and positive response of those I contacted by email in the wee hours of the morning on Friday the 6th of March.

I was so utterly miserable and disappointed when I learnt that the total ban of turtle harvesting was not a law, but just proposed and had not been passed. We had all put so much heart, soul, time and money into this campaign and I for one, somehow or other, thought that it was approved and signed, sealed and delivered…. how wrong was that? In the past 36 hours I have spoken to many people who were all of the same misguided opinion that I was…WRONG! I can hear the same gong that buzzes when a contestant gets the answer wrong on a game show.

The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Larry Cartwright, told us that there were lots of letters in from foreigners supporting the total ban on the harvesting of turtles but very few Bahamians have voiced a positive opinion, or any opinion at all for that matter, as there were only 2 protests. He indicated that Parliament wanted to hear from more BAHAMIANS supporting this Bill. Complacency appears to be a big problem in our country. People will sit around talk, talk, talking, but very few people will actually DO anything. This is the time that, if you are a Bahamian, you can actually do something very real to help us protect our turtles from torture and eventual extinction.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources is a “good guy”. He has been very receptive, supportive and interested in our quest to save the sea turtles from torture and extinction. But he can’t do it alone and that is where we are in a position to help make the turtle protection bill a reality. It is disappointing that we have to start all over again lobbying… So be it!

Oh, well, all is not lost. I wrote a plea, late at night, fueled by determination to succeed, and emailed out to about 150 friends and the next morning my “in box” was boiling over with emails. My phone was ringing…Questions, suggestions, help abounded. The papers were calling, the radio shows wanted input! The over all interest and concern shown in the response from every body was ONCE again amazing. You know, there are an awful lot of very nice, caring, and sincere people out there, who nobody hears about unless something bad happens to them. These are the people who have risen up to assist, these are the people who are writing, emailing and faxing in their support to the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

I am so encouraged and energized by their support, in other words, your support, that I feel I can go on pushing for this law to pass for as long as it takes. I would like to believe that the wise and wonderful ladies and gentlemen who rule our country are empowered with enough wisdom and foresight to understand that our country must be seen to be environmentally aware and friendly. Just imagine with the big FIFA Convention in May and Miss Universe in August how the Bahamas is going to be under a microscope. The world press is going to be looking at everything and every body, just hoping to find something to report…Slaughter and torture of turtles would not look terribly attractive to the world press. Especially as so many countries have already got total bans enforced to protect sea turtles, even Cuba is ahead of us in this.

We have such a wonderful country, such beauty outside our backdoor. People flock to countries that have natural resources. Our marine life is spectacular, yet we show such little interest in it. It always strikes me as funny how most Bahamians underplay anything Bahamian; yet clamor for the foreign version of it. Be it vegetables and fruit, tennis players, artists, you name it, if it’s Bahamian: we “dis” it, if it’s foreign: we embrace it!!! We take our own marine life for granted yet gather our kids together and flock to the Miami Seaquarium or Sea World in Orlando to see in tanks what we can see in our own waters…for free….Some one, explain that phenomenon to me, please.

This is no joke, not even a bad one.  Unless we band together and write letters of support IT WILL NOT GET PASSED, and turtle pie will stay on the menu, and the taunting and teasing, the hacking and torture of turtles will continue.

A simple few lines stating that you are a Bahamian in support of the total ban on capturing and killing ALL Bahamian sea turtles will do the job. This letter can be sent to the Hon. Lawrence Cartwright at the following contacts.

Minister Cartwright's fax number is: 322 1767
Minister Cartwright’s email address is: larrycartwright@bahamas.gov.bs
Minister Cartwright's P.O. Box # is: N 3028
(please,note that these contacts are public knowledge taken from the phone book).

THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO WRITE IN SUPPORT!

So many of you have come forward to assist, promote and support the efforts of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group. It is that spirit of determination, that brotherhood of fighting for something together that gives me the strength and courage to keep pushing for what I know is right. I will never forget how you all came through for the animals after hurricane Ike and today I see that same support for which I am eternally grateful

It is imperative that you remember that this law that was proposed some time ago to protect our turtles from mindless slaughter has NOT be passed YET and is NOT law, so turtles can still legally be tortured and killed. You can help make it stop. If you are not a Bahamian but you have Bahamian friends and family please urge them to write a letter of support.

Thank you for your help and support in this.


About the author: Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two teenaged sons. Kim has 3 dogs, 3 goldfish fish, a beta fish,  a tank of freshwater exotic fish, 11 turtles (2 babies, 6 adolescents. 3 adults), 1 Asian box turtle and 4 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and serves on the board of BREEF. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com



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