hawksbillturtle Filipino Government Lays the Smackdown on People Poaching Sea Turtles

Hawksbill turtle

Two years after their detainment, 13 poachers, from Vietnam, who were caught with the dead bodies of 101 endangered Hawksbill turtles (known in scientific circles as Eretmochelys imbricata) near El Nido, northern Palawan, in the Philippines, have finally been convicted and sentenced to hefty fines along with some jail time.

On the 22nd of June, The Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa, Branch 50, after much deliberation, decided that the Vietnamese poachers should face jail time for their heinous acts, and will receive anywhere from 6 to 18 months, plus have some hefty fines to pay.

Since the poachers have been sitting in jail since the 2nd of September 2008, the court also decided that they will only have to cough up the money for the fines.

Two Filipino gunboats apprehended the Vietnamese boat transporting the poachers five miles east of Cabaluan Island near El Nido on August the 29th 2008. In a sheer act of desperation, the 13 crew members aboard the boat tried to sink her by flooding the holds, however were preented from doing so by law enforcement officers.

When the cargo holds were explored, they discovered the corpses of 101 Hawksbill Turtles, classified as being critically endangered, which is the highest risk rating for any living animal. This rating was handed down by the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, some time ago.

So, they did the crime, they served the time, now all that remains is for them to pay the fine… Although, is it really enough? Did the poachers learn their lesson? Or were they simply sorry they were caught?