April 2, 2020

Swastikas Found on Seattle Turtles

BOCA RATON, FL - JULY 27: Some of the more than 570 baby sea turtles, including the Loggerhead and Green turtles, are seen before they are released into the Atlantic Ocean in a joint effort between the Coast Guard and the Gumbo-Limbo Nature Center on July 27, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida. The sea turtles hatchlings come from turtle nests located along beaches throughout Florida, which are the primary nesting grounds for Loggerhead sea turtles. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Two turtles were found with swastikas painted on them in a state park in Renton, Wash., nearby Seattle.

The Renton Police Department announced in a Nov. 5 Facebook post that the turtles were seen at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, but the authorities were unable to capture them.

Renton Police were made aware that two of our Gene Coulon turtles had some markings painted on their shells. We made an…

Posted by Renton Police Department, WA on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

According to The Seattle Times, authorities think that the turtles were formerly pets that were put into the wild with white inverted swastikas painted on them. The turtles are also not believed to be from Lake Washington, where the park is located, KIRO 7 reports.

“It seems pretty clear to us what the symbol means,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Pacific Northwest Regional Director Miri Cypers told the Times. “I think it’s a really sad and unfortunate act. Unfortunately, anti-Semitic vandalism is becoming all too common in this climate.”

Chad Cashman-Greene, who organized the Nov. 9 Rally Against Hate in response to the swastikas, told KIRO 7, “Many of us are upset to see this in our own backyard.”

Former New York Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who heads the Americans Against Antisemitism watchdog, tweeted, “In the latest strain of the anti-Semitism plague even wildlife aren’t safe! Sick people out there.”

The ADL’s Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents found that there was a 60% increase in anti-Semitic incidents from 2017 to 2018 in Washington State.