Tuesday, 7 August 2012

300 Green turtles die at Cayman Turtle Farm

Questions raised about safety of turtle farm
August 2012. After a leak of seawater from a pipe, 300 Green turtles have died at a turtle farm on the Cayman Islands. The turtle farm is a controversial turtle breeding centre that also sells turtle products to raise money. Not everyone agrees with this style of conservation, and although much good has been done in boosting local populations of turtles, there is much disquiet in some quarters about their methods.

The Cayman Turtle Farm has issued a statement (see below) that leaves several questions unanswered.

We have not visited the farm, but Wildlife Extra question why 300 turtles are kept in one tank, and extremely unnatural environment and one that would open the turtles to the risk of disease. Additionally, when there was a known leak, how on earth did a tank containing 300 turtles become empty without anyone noticing? The turtles must have suffered terribly as they are perfectly capable of living outside water for a time, they must have been left with no water for an extended period.
Time lag
Although the accident happened on 16th July, it didn't reach the news in the Caymans for 2 weeks, and there is no mention of the incident that we could find anywhere on the Turtle Farm website.
This is not the first time that the Cayman Turtle Farm has been at the centre of a controversy. A few years ago the Cayman Turtle Farm tried to export live sea turtles to Europe. However because the Cayman Farm was not recognized by CITES as a legal breeding facility, any international shipment of its turtles was in direct violation of CITES. In providing turtles for display at Sea Life Centres in Europe, the Cayman Farm hoped to generate public support for its controversial agenda of creating markets for turtle products. Conservation groups, meanwhile, claimed that the main reason green turtles have finally begun to rebound from near extinction is that international demand for turtle meat and shell has been all but eliminated. These groups have good reason to fear that any re-opening of trade would create the kind of demand that fuels illegal poaching and black markets for turtles caught from the wild.

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