It is a story of a couple of man of law, taking on the role of conservationists, as Policeman in Lae took it upon themselves to rescue a Leatherback Turtle and release it back into the sea at Voco Point in Lae, Morobe Province.
According to Police Officer, Constable George Mugaliong, who is attached with the Sector Response Unit under the Lae Metropolitan Command, the turtle was caught by fishermen at Lababia near the Morobe Patrol Coast and transported to the Main Lae Market for sale.
“Whilst on patrol duty, I noticed a big crowd surrounding a PMV truck where the turtle was been loaded on a PMV truck, headed for Wau-Bulolo, as a guy had bought the turtle. Constable Mugaliong reported that the turtle weighed approximately 90kgs and was 1m in diameter.
“We drove into the crowd to disperse the people and my fellow members, and I helped remove the turtle from the back of the truck and loaded it into our patrol vehicle.”
The Policemen lodged a situation report to their superiors and then proceeded to take the turtle to Voco Point Back to have it released.
“We cut loss all the ties that were holding the turtle’s flippers in place and tried to set it free.”
“Because the turtle was very weak, after been out of its habitat for close to two days, it did not react quickly.”
“We had to wait another hour before the turtle was able to regain some of its strength and it eventually swam away.”
The leatherback turtles are a critically endangered and protected marine reptile in Papua New Guinea.