Cuddly turtles help feed the real thing
(CNS): The sales of the cuddly “Sir Turtle” by the Tortuga Rum Company are to benefit real turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm after the store donated over $600 to the farm’s breeder nutrition research programme. The money was raised following just a few months of the toy which has proved very popular going on sale. Walter Mustin, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer of the turtle breeding program said that the funds will be used to assist with the preparation of a new and improved diet for breeding turtles.
Mustin explained that the money would help in the goal of replenishing the waters of the Caribbean with green sea turtles. “Without such efforts and the kindness and concern of citizens and corporations in Cayman, this important conservation work would not be possible,” he said.
Illustrating how important it is to return turtles to the wild he said ones tagged at the Turtle Farm as long ago as the 1980’s have been returning to Cayman to lay their eggs. This means the efforts to save the turtles are having real results. “It takes roughly 30 years for turtles in the wild to complete their life cycle, and become mature enough to lay eggs” said Dr. Mustin. “Seeing them return to Cayman’s shores after such a long time is such an encouragement, and shows that what we are doing here is working.
“It was a special moment for me to be able to contact Dr. Robert Schroeder the scientist who pioneered this work in the 1970’s to let him know that the mature turtles were back and had survived in the wild and were now home, all grown up and laying their own eggs on Cayman beaches.”
In recent years the farm has reduced the number of turtles returning to the wild because of problems with the breeding numbers. The farm increased the price of turtle meat to reflect the true cost of rearing the endangered species but it is continuing in the battle to overcome the breeding problems. Nutrition has been identified as one of the possible problems and scientists at the farm are trying to improve the food fed to the breeding turtles.
However, over the years, the farm has placed more than 31,000 endangered green sea turtles into the wild since its 1968 founding and the goal is to return to a position where the farm can breed more turtles to release.
“Sir Turtle” are available t any Tortuga location, or on line at www.tortugarums.com. With every one sold $3.00 is donated to the Turtle Farm.
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