Every year, the Cayman Turtle Farm releases a handful of baby turtles into the wild in celebration of Pirates Week festival. From the outside it looks like a great conservation project but, sadly, it does more harm than good.
The news that this year’s release has been cancelled is therefore a victory for turtles and a source of hope that things are beginning to improve at the Farm.
A controversial methodFor years the Farm has perpetuated the myth that the release is a vital conservation tool, for example claiming its release of over 31,000 green turtles has increased the number swimming in Caymanian waters. Yet less than 1% of these turtles are known to have returned to Caymanian beaches - a shockingly low success rate.
Other conservation groups have abandoned farmed releases over concerns surrounding the transmission of genetic defects and disease; both of which are problems known to be on-going at the Farm.
The method also comes at a huge cost in terms of both animal cruelty and Caymanian dollars. Money which would be much better spent if it was provided to the Department of the Environment to focus on protecting turtles in the wild – a method which is proven to have far higher conservation success rates.
Debunking the mythsIn an effort to debunk the myths surrounding the Cayman Turtle Farm, we have placed an advert in the CayCompass, the most widely read newspaper in the Cayman Islands, highlighting how ineffective the Farm's release programme has been to date.
Our hope is that this cancellation will mark the end of farmed turtle releases in the Cayman Islands, once and for all.
So far, over 185,000 people have supported the stop sea turtle farming campaign, which has resulted in a number of improvements at the Cayman Turtle Farm. But there’s still so much more to do.
Find out what you can do to support the campaign by visiting the website.