A research team at the University of British Columbia plans to kill seven highly endangered green sea turtles in order to complete a study into turtle diving depths. A whistleblower tipped off Stop UBC Animal Research about the project. The sea turtles have been part of the project for the past 10 years, a project that started out with 16 turtles, two of whom died, and seven who were retired to educational facilities. Although the study began as minimally invasive, the final procedure will require major surgery. There seem to be several reasons behind the decision to kill the turtles. The building that is currently housing the turtle tanks will be demolished, although Bill Milsom, head of UBC's zoology department, has claimed that this has not been a factor behind the decision to kill them. The researcher who was heading the project recently died. Also, relocating the turtles would apparently "require a lot of paperwork".
Photo Credit: Joseph MacKenzie
If the University is truly interested to aid conservation management, then the University should not contribute to their decline by killing these turtles. There are plenty of other methods that are in place for dedicated biologists and conservationists, some of which the University is already relying on, that do not involve harming, let alone killing, these animals. Research and management efforts at the UBC should contribute to the long-term conservation by using humane research methods.
Killing a highly endangered species cannot be justified. Please release the turtles to Sea Life or preferably to a sanctuary !