Quito, Apr 18 (EFE) – The Ministry of Environment of Ecuador reported this Sunday of the beginning of proceedings of the trial hearing of a police officer in the case of the turtles found in a suitcase at the airport of the Galapagos archipelago.
“A trial hearing is conducted against Nixon Alejandro P. D., a police officer prosecuted in the case of the turtles found in a suitcase at the Baltra airport,” the Ministry wrote on its Twitter account. The ministry also called on “the judicial authorities to enforce the rights of nature and generate precedents.”
On March 29, the police officer was arrested in relation to the trafficking of 185 newborn turtles that were intercepted at an airport in the Galapagos Islands bound for the city of Guayaquil, in mainland Ecuador.
The Prosecutor’s Office reported then that “the uniformed Nixon Alejandro P.D. will be prosecuted for alleged responsibility in the crime” and that “he will be charged with the crime against flora and fauna”, punished with between one and three years in prison.
The Ecuadorian authorities continue the investigations of the case, which was registered on the island of Baltra, in the Galapagos, during a routine check at the airport.
According to the Minister of the Environment, Marcelo Mata, the turtles were not extracted from the breeding centers of the Galapagos National Park (PNG), but from wild environments.
In addition, he explained that some 170 surviving specimens are under veterinary review and identification of their species is in process, in order to mark them for the investigation process.
The turtles were placed in a suitcase in the attempt to have them taken out of the Galapagos and they were discovered thanks to an X-ray examination. The animals were packed in plastic, which caused the death of over a dozen of them.
The age of the turtles did not exceed three months and their shell is extremely young, so it is still very difficult to determine from which of the islands of the archipelago they were extracted and when.
Faced with the serious event, the Galapagos Ecological Airport recalled that it is a signatory of the so-called Buckingham Palace Declaration, which seeks to combat species trafficking in the world, for which the company permanently trains its staff and maintains the commitment to notify to the authorities these types of events.
The Galapagos Islands were declared in 1978 as a Natural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco thanks to its rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity, where many unique species live in the world.
The archipelago is made up of 13 large islands, 6 minor and 42 islets, and is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.
Read the original coverage from InfoBae at https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2021/04/18/comienza-la-audiencia-del-caso-sobre-tortugas-halladas-en-una-maleta-en-galapagos/
Read additional coverage via El Comercio at https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/audiencia-inicio-caso-tortugas-galapagos.html