Sea turtles are among this planet’s most ancient species and have outlasted a myriad other species, including dinosaurs, with which they co-existed 110 million years ago. But despite all that, their days now appear numbered, as human activities such as fishing, poaching, egg harvesting, plastic pollution, careless balloon releases, and even our selfie obsession, are interfering with their survival as a species and driving them toward extinction. And tourist attractions like The Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter in the Cayman Islands are only making matters worse for these animals.
The Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter prides itself as “a popular tourist attraction, offering island wildlife encounters with the islands’ marine and terrestrial animals,” “a showcase of Caymanian culture including ‘turtling’ and seafaring traditions,” “a research and conservation facility focused on sea turtles and including periodic turtle releases into the wild.” It is also “a commercial green sea turtle captive breeding, farming, and meat production facility, providing meat products and polished turtle shells strictly for the local market within the Cayman Islands.” In 2012, World Animal Protection named it one of the top ten cruelest wildlife attractions in the world and, according to a petition on Care2, released a report outlining the reasons why, which included the following:
- Public handling causes serious stress for sea turtles and can result in injuries
- Such interactions also put visitors at risk of contracting diseases
- The facility’s sea turtles are kept in cramped, overcrowded and unsanitary conditions that have resulted in abnormal behavior, serious health and genetic issues, thousands of deaths from disease, and even aggression and cannibalism
There are also the issues of farming these animals for their meat, despite little evidence of local demand, and with rereleasing some of the turtles back into the wild, for which the facility has little proof of success and which may actually inhibit survival of both rereleased and wild sea turtles in the vicinity.
Nonetheless, Carnival Cruise Lines, which is the world’s largest cruise line, continues to usher boatload after boatload of overeager tourists to this attraction, even though the company has been made well aware of all the problems this supports.
We have the power to make Carnival Cruise Lines stop turning a deaf ear to the situation and start paying attention to all the cruelty and suffering it is supporting in this way. You can help by:
- Signing this petition urging Carnival Cruise Lines to discontinue its support for this inhumane attraction and remove it from its itineraries
- Steering clear of The Cayman Turtle Centre and other facilities that exploit sea turtles and other animals in this way
- Sharing this information so that others are aware of the cruelty and suffering that attractions like these inflict on our planet’s wildlife
Image source: David Carbo/Shutterstock