“What a shame and a total waste of our natural resources,” said fisherman Joel Jefferson in a social media post that is quickly going viral.
The pictures show what is left of an eagle ray after its fins were cut from its body.
Mr. Jefferson told Cayman 27 he found the mutilated eagle ray carcass floating near the shoreline just south of Tukka in in East End. The images are causing shock and outrage on social media.
“We need better funding of our enforcement arm of DOE and we need the courts to do their job and put [expletive] like this person/s in prison,” continued Mr. Jefferson. “I wonder how many divers and snorkelers saw this animal over the years?”
“I cannot get this atrocity out of my head,” said Sunset House’s Kieth Sahm, one of many to react with disbelief to the disturbing images. “One of the biggest ‘highs’ of our visiting divers is seeing a graceful eagle ray on a dive.”
The DOE told Cayman 27 Monday that eagle rays, as well as all other shark and ray species, are protected under the National Conservation Law.
“This is the first reported killing of an eagle ray, and it seems to be a senseless crime since they are valued creatures for tourism, not harmful, and unlike some species of skates and rays, are not edible,” said DOE Deputy Director Scott Slaybaugh. “All offenses of intentionally killing these animals will be prosecuted.”