As a new day begins with a new/renewed Cayman Islands Government, it’s time for a fresh start at the Cayman Turtle Centre.
After years of concerns regarding the animal welfare and conservation practices at this contentious facility, a new/renewed government has the opportunity to end the controversy once and for all.
Our concerns – backed by videos, photographs and freedom of information requests – show that behind the scenes, turtles are being raised and kept in shallow overcrowded tanks, resulting in stress, disease, abnormal behaviors such as aggression and even cannibalism.
Tourists worldwide are increasingly refusing to engage in activities that are cruel to animals. This is reflected in TripAdvisor’s latest move to stop selling tickets to the center and Carnival cruise lines are currently being petitioned to follow suit with nearly 100,000 people signing their support. The rest cannot be far behind.
Instead of propping up a failing business with government money, the new/renewed Cayman Islands government can show true leadership with a fresh start and help turn the center into a rehabilitation facility which puts animal welfare first, is more sustainable, still employs local people and taps into green tourism.
Former farms such as Kélonia on Reunion Island have made a gradual and successful move from a commercial farm into a much needed rehabilitation and release facility for sick and injured turtles.
This proves there is hope for turtles and a different way of doing things.
Neil D’Cruze, Senior Wildlife Advisor at World Animal Protection