18 Apr 2005

WSPA appalled at Tonga's reported move to lift ban on killing turtles

8:20 pm on 18 April 2005

The World Society for the Protection of Animals is appalled that Tonga has lifted its ban on the hunting of turtles.

Tonga's Ministery of Fisheries confirms that the ban has been lifted on the hunting of all turtle species, except leatherbacks, between March and August.

The only restriction is that the shell be at least 45 centimetres wide.

New Zealand's WSPA regional manager, Kimberley Muncaster, says turtle species experience extreme torture and pain when caught.

"Even when they are decapitated, it actually takes a long time for them to die as their brains can still operate with very little oxygen, and these animals are very conscious throughout the process, and its an incredibly cruel trade."

Kimberley Muncaster says bans are necessary to save turtles from becoming extinct.