Continuing a tradition that started decades ago, the Cayman Turtle Centre, held its annual turtle release on Sunday, November 10th. It was a fun, family-friendly event with meaning. Everyone there seemed to have great time and there were moments of inspiration and awe all wrapped up in the event.
This event is a part of the Pirates Week schedule, as it has been for quite some years now, and so it provided a nice respite from the revelry and negative connotations of the main festival theme. This event was solely about the turtles, the people who care for them, and the persons who were fortunate enough to have earned the chance to name and release one of the twenty yearling turtles.
Prior to the release, Cayman Turtle Centre CEO, Mr. Tim Adam, spoke to the crowd. He welcomed everyone and expressed his appreciation for their attendance. Mr. Adam also spoke of the significance of the release program and of what the turtle has always meant to Caymanians. He told those present about the program and of how successful it has been. An interesting fact was that 90 percent of the nesting turtles who lay each year in the Cayman Islands are actually releases from the Turtle Centre. Considering that it takes 25 years for a turtle to reach reproductive maturity, this is a significant number.
“We have released more than 32,000 turtles into the sea over the years” Mr. Adam reported of the Cayman Turtle Centre’s program. This brought a rousing cheer from the crowd. “And we are happy to report that DOE predicts that this year’s numbers would be a record for nests on Cayman’s beaches, at over 400,” he also explained. “The turtle release program is an integral part of this success.”
On this day, the individuals who had the honor of naming and releasing the turtles made up a diverse group. These included a student from Layman Scott High School in Cayman Brac; the guest pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow; several primary school students; and a visiting family who travelled from Austria specifically for this event. Each chose the name for their turtle ahead of time, and were able to accompany their yearling on its journey down the beach to the sea. Since each turtle has been fit with a microchip, if it is ever seen by a scientist in another country, the chip will be scanned and the turtle’s appearance will be reported back to the Cayman Turtle Centre.
Embedded in the Pirates Week schedule, this event was a very worthwhile, earth-friendly, and wholesome event. The program has brought about so many positive results and is poised to continue that trend. Kudos to Mr. Tim Adam and his staff at the Cayman Turtle Centre for helping the growth of one of Cayman’s natural symbols, the turtle.