Colombian authorities released 31 turtles back into the sea on Thursday after rescuing them from an animal trafficking network in the northern state of La Guajira.
Early on Thursday morning, the army seized 42 sea turtles in a rural area of Maicao town. During the rescue operation, 11 turtles died due to the traffickers’ mistreatment, authorities said.
After being examined by veterinarians, the remaining 31 turtles were returned to the Colombian Caribbean.
“We strongly reject these actions that threaten the conservation of our threatened wildlife,” Samuel Lanao Robles, general director of the Colombian environmental authority Corpoguajira, who released the animals, said in a news release.
He said that of the 42 turtles, 32 were green sea turtles, and 11 were hawksbill sea turtles.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the green sea turtle, also known as green turtle, is endangered with their numbers decreasing.
The hawksbill sea turtle is critically endangered, according to the Red List. That’s one step before being ‘extinct in the wild’.
Robles added that he regretted the loss of the turtles who died and promised to strengthen operations to fight animal trafficking.
Police arrested five people for animal trafficking.
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