eating Sea Turtle Meat on Pemba Island Leads to Tragic Deaths in Zanzibar Archipelago

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania – Tragedy struck Pemba Island in the Zanzibar archipelago as authorities reported multiple deaths and illnesses linked to the consumption of sea turtle meat. Eight children and one adult lost their lives, while 78 others were hospitalized after consuming the tainted delicacy.

Sea turtle meat is considered a delicacy in Zanzibar, but the recent cases have shed light on the dangers of consuming it. The deaths were attributed to chelonitoxism, a form of food poisoning that can result from consuming turtle meat.

Dr. Haji Bakari, the Mkoani District medical officer, revealed that the adult who passed away was the mother of one of the deceased children. The fatal meal was consumed on a Tuesday, leading to a tragic outcome just days later.

Laboratory tests confirmed that all the victims had ingested sea turtle meat, reinforcing the link between the consumption of this delicacy and the resulting illnesses and fatalities. In response to the crisis, a disaster management team, led by Hamza Hassan Juma, was dispatched to educate the public on the risks associated with consuming sea turtles.

This is not the first instance of such a tragedy in the region. In November 2021, a similar incident occurred on Pemba Island, where seven individuals, including a young child, lost their lives after consuming turtle meat, with three others requiring hospitalization.

Authorities are urging caution and awareness regarding the consumption of sea turtles in order to prevent further tragedies from befalling the community. The devastating consequences of indulging in this delicacy serve as a stark reminder of the potential dangers that can arise from consuming certain types of wildlife.