Cayman Islands Sea Turtle Farm

           For my birthday this year my dreams finally came true. If you know me, you know that my obsession with Sea Turtles is real, over the top even. We went on a cruise and specifically went to the Cayman Islands just so I can finally touch a Sea Turtle. I was in heaven. It was the most amazing experience of my life and I cherished it so much. Until I found out what really happens at the Cayman Islands Sea Turtle Farm. 

When you first walk in to the Turtle Farm the first thing they tell you is all the good they've done for the Sea Turtles. They explain that they breed them and that they raise and that they have saved thousands of Sea Turtles over the years and they are helping their species. It is debatable on how many of these turtles have actually survived out in the wild. It is also believed that the turtles that have been released have made the wild sea turtles sick. 

In 2014, more than 1,000 captive turtles died from an infection.

Over 300,000 tourists visit the farm every year. I was one of them. I was in awe of how beautiful the Turtles looked and how big the breeder Sea Turtles were. I loved the way they felt and I was honestly so happy to finally be able to experience Sea Turtles first hand. 

I didn't like that they were enclosed and not out in the ocean swimming freely, but I had never touched one and it was my dream. 

Most of the tourists who go to the Cayman Island Sea Turtle Farm have no idea what really goes on behind the scenes until they actually get the farm. If you listen close enough you will come to find out that it's a breeding farm for Turtle delicacies that are popular in the island. But the tour guides will not voluntarily reveal that information unless you ask them.

Then I learned that they breed and raise these perfect creatures for their meat. I was horrified. They sell the meat to the island and the locals and tourists alike eat them at restaurants and local markets. 

I was ashamed after learning the truth behind everything that goes on in this place, but eating turtle meat is a cultural commodity in Cayman Islands. The turtle farm provides the meat to the natives in a humane way rather than the natives going out and illegally poaching the Sea Turtles. 

The fact that they sell turtle meat to the local population helps to prevent the local people from poaching wild turtles. But, this park breeds turtles to be released. Hatchlings are released to help save the population, or so that is what we're told.

The tour guide also explains that we're not harming the turtles by touching them and carrying them, but we're honestly stressing them out. These creatures are not meant to be handled, yet here I am disturbing their peace.

With all this information, I don't know if I would go back. Sea Turtles are my favorite animal and just seeing them being bred for feeding purposes is not ok with me. I've visited Gumbo Limbo and The Sea Turtle hospital here in South Florida where they care for the sea turtles. They protect them. They are endangered. I don't think I can ever get passed the fact that these precious creatures are being raised to be slaughtered and eaten, while having financial gain of making it a tourist attraction. I understand that it's preventing wild Sea Turtles from being harmed, but I don't know if I will take part in that experience again no matter how wonderful. 

There is a lot of pros and cons to this place. Now you just have to decide what you believe in. 


Below I included a ton of websites to check out where you can find out how to save the Sea Turtles, and help them out from extinction. 

1 comment

  1. I love sea turtles too & before reading this, I would have LOVED to go to a place like that to be among them but after reading this, I don't think that I would. Poor beautiful things. :(


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