Tragedy Strikes as Consuming Sea Turtle Meat Leads to Deaths in Zanzibar

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania – A tragic incident occurred on Pemba Island in the Zanzibar archipelago that has left authorities and residents shocked. Several individuals lost their lives or fell ill after consuming sea turtle meat, a delicacy that is highly regarded in this region.

According to reports, eight children and one adult tragically lost their lives, while 78 others had to be hospitalized following the consumption of sea turtle meat. The cause of these devastating outcomes is suspected to be chelonitoxism, a form of food poisoning associated with consuming turtle meat.

Dr. Haji Bakari, the Medical Officer of the Mkoani District, revealed that laboratory tests have confirmed that all the victims had ingested sea turtle meat. The adult who succumbed to this poisoning was the parent of one of the deceased children, emphasizing the heartbreaking impact of this incident.

Authorities in Zanzibar have dispatched a disaster management team to address the situation. Led by Hamza Hassan Juma, the team is urging residents to refrain from consuming sea turtles to prevent further tragedies. This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in the region, as a similar case in 2021 resulted in the deaths of seven individuals and hospitalization of three others after consuming turtle meat on Pemba Island.