Controversial news that’s causing an uproar. The Vancouver Sun reports:
Endangered green sea turtles that have been part of a University of B.C. research project for more than 10 years will be killed sometime this spring.
Bill Milsom, head of UBC’s zoology department, said seven turtles will be killed in order to complete a study into turtle diving depths. The turtles are at least 10 years old and can live to be 30.
The study was designed to measure the impacts of climate change on the animals and to help countries develop policies around fishing.
More than 85,000 green sea turtles died as “bycatch in the fishing industry” between 1990 and 2008, Milsom said. By studying diving depths, researchers could recommend how deep fish nets should be placed to avoid catching the turtles.
Asked why kill an endangered species, Milsom said “they were brought in for these experiments [at UBC] and as part of those experiments, it requires harvesting the tissues.”
As the research progressed, he said, the studies became more invasive. Initially, tiny pacemaker-like devices were implanted under the turtles’ skin to measure impacts of climate change.
“The final experiments require major surgery,” Milsom said.
They are necessary to “help us understand why these animals have such high mortality when caught in trawl nets in warming oceans.”
At the end of the surgery and measurements, the anesthesia will be increased until the turtles die, Milsom said.
A spokesman for an animal rights group said it makes no sense to kill an endangered species and questions why the turtles can’t be spared to “live out their final days in peace.”…