Ten yearling green sea turtles were released into the wild on Friday at the annual Cayman Turtle Centre and Cayman Islands Pirates Week Festival event at Governor’s Beach.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s event was primarily held virtually allowing viewers from around the world to watch as the turtles made the trek into the sea.
“This event is, and has been for many years, one of the staple events for the Pirates Week Festival,” Melanie McField, chief cultural officer for festivals and carnivals, Cayman National Cultural Foundation, said in a statement on the event.
“It’s part of our giving back to the community, and showing our keen interest in wildlife preservation, in partnership with the Cayman Turtle Centre. It’s obviously a great event for families and children, and one of those events that anyone can attend. That’s what Pirates Week is about – providing something for everyone to enjoy,” she added.
Island Montessori was randomly selected from primary schools across the island which took part in Cayman Turtle Centre’s turtle-naming competition.
A small group of students from the school got the chance to release the turtle they named ‘Shelley the Island Turtle’.
The students, aged from 4 to 7, were able to meet and escort their turtle for the release.
“We are really happy to have won the competition,” Toby Wade, Island Montessori teacher said.
“The children loved being able to pick the name for the turtle, Shelly the Island Turtle’. It came from the word, ‘shell,’ and the word ‘island.’ We have been learning about Columbus, calling the Cayman Islands ‘Las Tortugas’,” he said.
The centre has released more than 33,000 turtles into the wild since the programme began in the 1980s.