Cayman Government welcomes WSPA turtle talks

Cayman Government welcomes WSPA turtle talks

At the end of July, WSPA held encouraging talks with members of the newly elected Caymanian Government, where our proposed solutions to problems at the controversial Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) were discussed and positively received.

Over 9,500 endangered sea turtles are still bred and housed at the CTF for their meat – they currently live in dirty tanks, are often diseased and unable to express their natural behaviours.

WSPA’s Chief Executive, Mike Baker, and Wildlife Trade Campaign Leader, Dr Neil D’Cruze, proposed to the Caymanian Government - the legal owner of the farm – that the CTF is redeveloped into a rehabilitation, rescue and release facility for injured turtles.

The meetings, which included, amongst others, the Ministers for the Environment, Tourism, Planning, Health and Agriculture, highlighted a shared concern within the new government about many aspects of the Farm. These included: the unproven conservation benefits of its breeding programme; its CI$9m a year drain on the island’s economy; the lack of knowledge about the true nature of local demand for turtle meat and the poor welfare conditions in which the turtles are kept.

D’Cruze said: “We are pleased to have had open, candid and more positive talks with the new Caymanian Government. I believe that there is real possibility that we can collaborate to ensure that positive steps are taken to help the thousands of sea turtles which continue to suffer at the Cayman Turtle Farm.”

While WSPA is cautiously optimistic to have found this significant common ground, however, there is still one key area of dispute.  WSPA remains clear that the only way to fully resolve the welfare problems at the CTF is to transition away from commercial production, whereas the Caymanian Government believes there is a way to humanely farm sea turtles.

WSPA’s proposal to turn the CTF into a rescue, rehabilitation and release and eco-tourism centre is modelled on the Reunion Island’s former turtle farm, which successfully transformed into The Kélonia Observatory of Marine Turtles. Kélonia is now a world-respected research and education centre that has demonstrated increased economic benefits for the island, and rising visitor numbers.

A transformed CTF could also become a centre of excellence for sea turtle conservation and has the potential to become the jewel in the Cayman Island’s crown.

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In the media

Antigua Chronicle : World Society for the Protection of Animals Secures Critical Positive Measures for Cayman Islands Sea Turtles
Caribarena Antigua : Future of Cayman Turtle Meat Farm Uncertain
CayCompass : Iconic animal deserves better
The Ecologist : Farming sea turtles is no solution
Cayman News Service : UK to fund turtle survey
Caribbean News Now : Cayman Islands to research local consumption of turtle meat
CayCompass : Study asks: Do you eat turtle?
Cayman 27 : WSPA to meet with government
Cayman News Service : Visitor turtle meat ban posed
Miss A : Ecotourism: Watch Out for Greenwashing
Caribseek News : Turtles Can't Be Released
CayCompass : Cayman Turtle Farm says turtle release ‘postponed’
CayCompass : Turtle release canceled for Pirates Week
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LA Times : Want to see wildlife? Rule No. 1: Arm yourself -- with information
Earth Techling : Five Ways to Identify Fake Eco-Tourist Attractions
eTN Global Travel Industry News : Eco-tourist attractions and greenwashing: What you can do
Chicago3Media : Problems Remain at Cayman Sea Turtle Farm, Tourists at Risk
Cayman I News : Cayman Turtle Farm war with Animal Society heats up again
Cayman News Service : Science journal details turtle farm cruelty
Cayman 27 : Turtle Farm under fire
Caribseek News : Farm Needs To Measure Real Demand For Meat
Cayman News Service : Farm needs to assess demand
Cayman Compass : Animal welfare concerns over increased turtle production
Cayman 27 : Price for turtle meat drops
CayCompass : Editorial for August 30: The Turtle Farm's 'head in the shell' business strategy
Cayman News Service : Turtle Number Increase Cuts Meat Price
Vancouver Co-op Radio, CFRO : Stop Sea Turtle Farming Campaign: Interview with Elizabeth Hogan from WSPA
Tourism Concern : Should I visit a sea turtle conservation facility?
Cayman 27 : WSPA lobbies gov't over Turtle Farm
Cayman News Service : Wildlife charity hopeful for turtle farm change
Cay Compass : Turtle Farm could be a jewel
Cayman News Service : Report confirms CTF woes
Cayman News Service : Turtle Farm still polluting sea
Cayman 27 : Big Story: Turtle Farm controversy