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‘Whales warrior' coming to help T&T’s eco group
Controversial New Zealand conservationist Pete Bethune of the Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” series arrives in T&T tomorrow to take part in a workshop being held by the Trini Eco Warriors Group (TEW).
Head of TEW, Kyle de Lima, said on Monday Bethune would be among guests at the first in a series of monthly workshops the TEW was staging at the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies.
De Lima, photographer, Steven Broadbridge and Marc De Verteuil have been investigating and documenting environmental issues affecting the local flora, fauna and coasts. De Lima added: “The upcoming workshops will facilitate co-ordination and co-operation among the various environmental NGOs throughout T&T to allow them to be better informed as to exactly what is going on with environmental issues locally.
“Mr Bethune will be arriving in Trinidad on Friday (tomorrow) to help Trini Eco Warriors’ effort to raise awareness on our country’s horrible track record regarding the protection of our sea turtles.” TEW has called on Government to implement measures to curb the indiscriminate hunting of turtles which are vulnerable at certain times of the year when hunting is allowed. Agriculture Minister Vasant Bharath said recently he supported legislation to protect turtles and would pilot moves towards that in Parliament.
However, TEW has expressed dissatisfaction at the pace of action. Bethune and a camera crew will spend a week in T&T filming the hunting of sea turtles. He will return to T&T later in the year to observe what takes place during the turtle nesting season. A former oil exploration engineer, Bethune is an anti- whaling activist who holds the world record for the fastest trip around the world in a powerboat.
Bethune was associated with the Sea Sheppard anti-whaling group featured in Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” series.
However according to Wikipedia, the connection with Sea Sheppard was broken last year after Bethune’s vessel, The Ady Gil, was sunk in a collision with a Japanese whaling vessel which caused controversy in the anti-whaling community. Bethune was said to have been charged by Japanese authorities for trespassing on the Japanese vessel after he used a jet ski to board the boat and threw butyric acid missiles at the boat.
The Japanese called it a publicity stunt. Bethune said he wanted to raise awareness of Japan’s whaling and its effects on his “backyard” of New Zeland. He was given a suspended sentence, banned from Japan for five years and deported to New Zealand. Bethune recently launched his own organisation, called “Earthrace.”
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