October 23, 2020

No turtles for the pirates

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image002The Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) has announced there will be no release of baby and juvenile Green Sea Turtles during the annual Pirates Week Festival on Grand Cayman this month.

One hundred and fifty turtles were released into the wild as part of the Cayman Islands 2012 Pirates Week festivities.

No reason has been given by the CTF for the cancellation although the way the turtles have been released has been the subject of much condemnation by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

After last year’s release the WSPA issued this statement from Roberto Vieto, WSPA Veterinarian for Central America and the Caribbean:

““Sadly all is not what it seems with this turtle release. What on the surface looks like a coup for sea turtle conservation is in fact yet another example of bad practice. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) had a supporter on the ground during the release, who saw evidence of turtles with visible defects being released. The Cayman Turtle Farm allowed untrained Cayman residents or tourists to freely handle the baby sea turtles; this bad handling practice can be extremely stressful for the animals, plus potentially affect the successful adaptation of the sea turtles in their natural habitat.

thumb1_news_1328545040_CJV3586“Not only does WSPA question the Farm’s methods, but we also wonder if this was nothing more than a PR ploy to try and stem the overwhelming criticism it has been receiving from welfare and conservation organisations, scientists, celebrities and the public. We also question the huge surge in turtles released this year, after several years of modest release, with a cessation of the release altogether in 2006.

“WSPA believes the recent release is further evidence that the Farm is ignoring our concerns about continuing animal cruelty and bad practice. WSPA is still hoping to engage with the Farm constructively on these issues, but unfortunately the Farm seems unwilling to listen.”

The only other times the CTF cancelled the release was due to insufficient numbers of juvenile turtles aged between 18 months and 2 years.

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