Environmental Protection

Help Save the Cayman Turtles

An investigation at a turtle farm in the Caribbean revealed overcrowding, neglect, and unsanitary conditions have led to the mistreatment of the endangered sea turtles, putting the species at risk in the Cayman Islands.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) uncovered a year-long investigation on the Cayman Turtle Farm, a popular tourist destination in the Cayman Islands and the world's last remaining sea-turtle farm, revealing disturbing cruelty and neglect of the endangered species. All seven species of sea turtles are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species as either endangered or critically endangered.

"Life on the Cayman Turtle Farm is a far contrast from how sea turtles live in the wild," said Elizabeth Hogan, oceans and wildlife campaigns manager at WSPA. "It's truly horrific to see this type of neglect and cruelty of an endangered species taking place at a tourist attraction. Not to mention the fact that these foul conditions aren't only affecting the resident turtles - humans could be at risk, as well."

The video footage and photographs taken at the farm during the investigation show thousands of endangered sea turtles being kept in dirty and crowded touch tanks. In these conditions, the turtles are forced to swim in water filled with their own waste, fight and bite each other for food, and some have resorted to cannibalism. Many of the turtles suffer from disease and birth defects, such as injured fins or missing eyes.

Over the summer, WSPA met with the Cayman Turtle Farm owners to discuss its investigation findings and propose a plan for the farm to transition its business to a sea turtles rehabilitation and research center. To date, the farm is not willing to change.

"The bottom line is that the farm is currently posing great threats to sea turtle welfare and human health," added Hogan. "We want to help the farm change for the better, but its unwillingness to meet us halfway is posing a great challenge."

For those interested in helping save the Cayman turtles, please visit the WSPA website, watch the campaign video, and sign the petition, asking for the farm to change the turtles’ living conditions.

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