Sea Turtle Meat in Zanzibar Leads to Tragic Deaths and Illnesses

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania – Multiple individuals have tragically passed away or fallen ill after consuming sea turtle meat on Pemba Island in the Zanzibar archipelago, as per local authorities. The incident took place recently, resulting in the deaths of eight children and one adult, with 78 others being rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Sea turtle meat is considered a delicacy among the inhabitants of Zanzibar, leading to the consumption that led to these unfortunate outcomes. The deaths are suspected to be a result of chelonitoxism, a form of food poisoning that occurs from ingesting sea turtle meat.

Dr. Haji Bakari, the Mkoani District medical officer, revealed that the mother of one of the deceased children also lost her life after consuming the turtle meat that was eaten on Tuesday. All victims were confirmed to have consumed sea turtle meat through laboratory tests.

Following the incident, a disaster management team under the leadership of Hamza Hassan Juma was dispatched to Zanzibar to handle the situation. The public was strongly advised to refrain from consuming sea turtles in order to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.

This is not the first time such a tragic incident has occurred in the region. In November 2021, seven individuals, including a 3-year-old child, lost their lives on Pemba Island after consuming turtle meat, while three others were hospitalized. This recurring issue underscores the importance of raising awareness about the dangers associated with consuming sea turtles in this area.