Monday, May 30, 2011

Save Cayman out in force

Cayman News Service
May 28, 2011

Campaigners aiming to protect the North Sound from proposed dredging projects and other major developments that could threaten the local environment were out in force Saturday at Grand Cayman’s local supermarkets collecting more signatures for the petition and recruiting people to assist with what is growing into a major green movement. Captain Bryan Ebanks, who is spearheading the campaign, said that the support for Save Cayman is growing and more and more people are pledging their support. Following a week of radio appearances and meetings to help promote this weekend’s push, Ebanks said he was really pleased that more and more people were willing to step up to the plate and say enough is enough.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hotline to protect nesting turtles

Cayman News Service
May 11, 2011

While sea turtle remains a popular national dish in the Cayman Islands, the public is being asked to join a world wide effort to halt the decline of these endangered species. The Department of Environment (DoE) is appealing to the public to aid in the recovery of Cayman Islands sea turtle nesting populations by reporting turtle nests to a new DoE Turtle Hotline 938-NEST (938-6378) whenever sea turtle tracks or nests are found. The goal is to find all turtle nests and protect them from the time they are laid until they hatch two months later.

DoE Research Officer Dr Janice Blumenthal explained that during the turtle nesting season DoE staff and volunteers patrol beaches four days per week finding and protecting nests but they are not able to visit every beach every day so rely on the public to assist them.

She added, “While sea turtles spend the majority of their lives in the ocean, from May to November females make their way on shore to lay their eggs. On the beach, nesting turtles, turtle nests, and baby turtles are extremely vulnerable. We hope that with the new and easy to remember Turtle Hotline number, members of the public will be better able to assist in sea turtle conservation efforts.”

Data collected by DoE over the past decade show that Cayman Islands sea turtle nesting has begun to increase but many nests are in highly developed areas such as Seven Mile Beach. This makes nests susceptible to threats such as lights near the beach, beach driving, heavy equipment operation, bonfires, and poaching. The Turtle Hotline makes it possible for members of the public to help by alerting DoE when they spot turtle nests or see a nesting turtle or baby turtles in danger.

In addition to reporting nests, beachfront property owners and residents can assist by following the DoE’s guidelines for making beaches safe for turtles:

  • Reduce beach lighting: turn off, redirect, or shield any lights that can be seen from the beach during the turtle nesting season (contact DoE for more information). Lights near the beach can lead baby turtles away from the sea and result in their death. Lighting may also deter nesting females from coming ashore.
  • Remain quiet and stay at a distance if you see a nesting turtle. Flashlights, loud noises, or getting too close might cause the turtle to abandon her nesting attempt.
  • Remove obstacles such as beach chairs and recreational equipment from the beach at night.
  • Do not drive on the beach—this can crush turtle nests. Contact DoE before using beach cleaning machines or heavy equipment.
  • Protect beach vegetation. Vegetation blocks light from buildings, stabilizes the beach, and encourages turtles to nest.
  • Do not have bonfires on the beach in the summer—use a designated BBQ pit.
  • Do not rake or cover turtle tracks. Department of Environment staff and volunteers use the tracks to find and protect nests.
  • Call DoE’s Turtle Hotline if you find a turtle track, nest, or baby turtle.
  • Remember that sea turtles are protected under Cayman Islands Law and turtle poachers face steep fines and imprisonment. If you see persons harming or taking sea turtles or their eggs call DoE Enforcement or the police (911).

Contact Janice Blumenthal at DoE for more information or to volunteer for the Marine Turtle Beach Monitoring Programme. DoE Turtle Hotline: 938-NEST. General: 949-8469. Emergencies: 916-4271 or 911. Email:

Earth Day celebrated in style

Caymanian Compass
May 5, 2011

Earth Day was celebrated in style this year at an event at Camana Bay that brought together the traditional evening market and green businesses.

Participants included more than 40 exhibitors, ranging from those offering green products and services to not-for-profit organisations working to raise awareness of Cayman’s environment.

The pairing of the event with the quarterly evening market, which took place on Market Street, was a great fit, as locally grown produce has a much reduced carbon footprint compared to food transported to Cayman.

The main festivities took place on The Crescent, where exhibitors displayed everything from solar panels and information on environmentally friendly homes to environmental tours, art and photography. There were also vendors with natural products and even fashion labels with clothes made from environmentally conscious fabrics. The youngsters were not forgotten, with activities to keep them occupied while parents spent some time educating themselves on how to make a difference to the environment. Read the whole story here.