Thursday, 05. March 2015
19. 05. 14. - 16:00
A Chinese fisherman could have made a tidy sum selling a whopping 200 lb turtle to local restaurants.
But Cai Tu, 45, was so overawed by the size of the turtle that he decided to release him to swim free again in the ocean.
He said: "My dad who was a fisherman taught me you can tell their age from the shell, and based on that I estimated the turtle was over 100-years-old."
Tu's act of animal kindness was not understood by most of his fellow villagers in Menyuwei on Nanji Island in China's Zhejiang Province. They branded him a fool for letting such a valuable treat get away.
But he said: "Sometimes you have to do the right thing. I looked into that turtle's eye and saw something that was alive before my grandfather was born, and I didn't want to be the end of that journey. I wanted to give him another chance."
Turtle is regarded as a delicacy in China and fish markets the length and breadth of the country are filled with live specimens caught fresh that day. China has a taste for turtle; turtle soup, turtle eggs, and even turtle bone are ground up for use in Chinese medicine to promote longevity.
He could have earned the equivalent of 500 GBP - two months wages - for the whopper he nicknamed The Hulk. But he added: "It was obviously very old and I figured it had earned its right to enjoy the rest of its days in the deep.
"He had lichen all over his back and barnacles growing on his shell bottom. He was a real old man of the sea and so I decided there and then that was where he belonged.
"Some people have laughed at me, others have said they respect me for what I did. I hope The Hulk doesn't get entangled in anyone else's nets any time soon."
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