Target: Gina Ebanks-Petrie, Director of the Cayman Islands Department of Environment
Goal: Shut down a tourist attraction in the Cayman Islands that enables harsh treatment of stingrays
Stingray City Sandbar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Cayman Islands. Tour guides stand by as vacationers handle dozens of stingrays swimming around their feet. Visitors are encouraged to touch and interact with the stingrays in their natural habitat; however, recent footage suggests that the attraction is actually harming the marine animals.
A photographer, Ellen Cuylaerts, and her filmmaker husband, Michael Maes, captured images of swimmers choking stingrays and red scars on the undersides of stingrays near the coast. Although tourism companies have received numerous complaints about the treatment of stingrays, operations continue as normal. Tourists are not properly trained in the handling of stingrays and are often reckless with the animals as they hang out of overloaded boats. Stingrays are occasionally killed by tour boat propellers as well. “Personally, I think the situation has declined a lot in the last year. Many stingrays have injuries, something you rarely saw before,” said Michael Maes, who believes party boats dropping sometimes drunk tourists in the water are part of the problem.
Sign the below petition to shut down the cruel operations at Stingray City and preserve the lives of stingrays in the Cayman Islands. It is unacceptable for tour operators to handle stingrays roughly and improperly train tourists in handling the marine creatures.
Dear Ms. Ebanks-Petrie,
As you are aware, tour companies make a fortune taking visitors on boats and encouraging them to handle and play with stingrays along the shore. However, the health and welfare of the Cayman Islands stingrays has begun to suffer because of these interactions. Tour operators are handling the stingrays in a rough manner, tourists are not properly trained in handling the stingrays, and stingrays are being injured and killed by tour boat propellers. The quality of life for these stingrays has drastically declined over the past year, and tour companies are receiving an increased number of exploitation complaints.
I am urging you to shut down tour company operations that exploit and harm stingrays along the coast of the Cayman Islands. Although these tours put money into the local economy in the short term, they are creating long-term damage for a species that should be allowed to live peacefully in its native habitat without human interference.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kfulgham84 via WikiMedia Commons