Thirty-six yearling sea turtles were released into the wild on Saturday morning in the first public turtle release on Grand Cayman since 2012.
The release at Barkers Beach was supervised by officials from the Cayman Turtle Centre. A group of teens from the “Youth Flex” show on Radio Cayman, along with some of their siblings, took part in the release.
Turtle Farm Marketing Director India Narcisse-Elliott said the manner in which the turtle release was handled differed from those in past years.
“The children took the turtles from the tub and placed them on the beach, allowing them to crawl into the water on their own,” she said.
During past releases, throngs of spectators stood knee-deep in sea water while children dropped the turtles directly into the ocean. This time, release techniques recommended by the Department of Environment were used, Ms. Elliott said.
The last turtle release of any kind by the Turtle Centre was in May, but that was done without notification to the public.
The Turtle Centre suspended public releases of juvenile and baby green sea turtles after the implementation of new health screening procedures for the animals in 2013. The annual Pirates Week turtle release has been postponed since November 2012.
Farm officials said they developed a “more rigorous quarantine and health check procedure” before releasing turtles into the wild, a procedure developed following an independent inspection of the turtle farm’s operations in December 2012.