A fisherman being arrested for killing a sea turtle and using illegal means of fishing. Residents in Lamu claim that turtle meat boosts male libido and want to be allowed to hunt turtles /ALPHONCE GARI.
Residents of Kizingitini in Lamu East want the government to allow them to trap and consume turtles, saying the meat is of great medicinal value.
“Turtles are very important. Its soup gives us men a lot of sexual energy. [In] the days of our forefathers, divorces were rare because men were active in bed,” Shee Kassim, a fisherman from Faza, said.
Currently, there is a ban forbidding hunting for and killing turtles.
But residents claim their health has been badly affected since the ban was imposed several years ago.
For decades, they have held onto the belief that turtle fat can be used to treat asthma, TB and impotence.
The fat is also believed to be an aphrodisiac for men.
Residents say the government should instead set limits on the number of turtles they are allowed to catch, in order to address their health issues.
Kassim claims many marriages have broken up because men no longer have a ‘boost’ to their sexual prowess.
But a nutritionist the the Lamu District Hospital has dismissed claims of the medicinal value of turtle meat.
“What I know is that whatever nutritional value is found in turtles is the exact same thing found in fish and other foods,” Charles Mwashighadi said.
“Instead of [making] up excuses … they should instead eat fish and help save turtles from extinction,” he added.
The World Wildlife Fund continues to urge locals to cooperate with relevant bodies and instead help conserve turtles.
County officer Mike Olendo said turtle populations across the world are dwindling due to a myriad of reasons, among them misleading beliefs on their nutritional value.
According to the Wildlife Act, 2013, anyone hunting wildlife such as turtles is liable for a Sh1 million fine ot 2 years’ imprisonment or both.