Over the past decades, the Cayman Islands has seen unprecedented economic and development growth which has brought many benefits to the island and population. However, this development has meant that natural habitats for animals in the Cayman Islands have been compromised. This is especially disruptive for turtles as where they nest is prime beachfront property.
The Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) is doing a great job in helping the turtle population get back on track. In addition, there has been great success with the Cayman Turtle Center’s release program over the past 40 years with many turtles returning to nest. With that being said, both of these programs can only do so much as in addition to the demise of turtle’s natural habitats the local turtle population is at risk from poaching by people who not only steal the eggs but also kill the mother turtle..
What I am Doing: I am raising funds to assist the Department Of Environment to monitor turtle nesting activity and stop turtle poaching. I have met and spoken to experts at the Turtle Center and Department of Environment. In addition, I analyzed the Department Of Environment detailed nesting data accumulated over 20 years to identify the most vibrant nesting grounds for turtles in the Cayman Islands.
From this data and from talking to the Turtle experts, I have selected a key beach a the end of Sand Hole Road / Boatswain Way on the North West of Grand Cayman to implement a pilot program to monitor nesting and poaching activity. It has been dubbed “Turtle Beach” and it is a perfect nesting ground for turtles for the following reasons:
Little to no development. Little to no light pollution. Large amount of sand on the beach and vegetation. Critically important beaches for turtle nesting. (see image of beach below).
With the funds raised I am going to lease a MAST security tower and camera. This tower and camera will be placed on a plot of land on “Turtle Beach” for the duration of the breeding season.
During this time period “Turtle Beach” will be monitored 24/7 by a security firm. Upon seeing activity (be it nesting or poaching) a response unit consisting of DOE and RCIPS (Royal Cayman Islands Police Service) Enforcement Officers to be dispatched. A few of the benefits of doing this are below:
DOE to be able to stop poaching attempts. DOE to be able to obtain more data around populations, nesting patterns, survival rates. More female breeding turtles return to the ocean! More baby turtles go into the wild!
How The Money Will Be Spent?
What Happens Next?
The goal is to save the turtles and their environment. As such if this pilot program proves as successful as we believe it will be, the plan to take larger steps to try and preserve Turtle Beach.
Potential next steps could include the purchase of a permanent security solution.
Other possibilities include entering conservation agreements with land owners.
All donors will receive a digital icon of Turtle Beach for their email signature. Monthly updates will be made available to all who are interested. Big new flashes to be provided for turtle arrivals and hatchings. For donations over CI$250/US$300 donors shall receive limited edition Turtle Beach t-shirts.
For more information please contact:
Mike Ridley Project Turtle Beach firstname.lastname@example.org