Turtle hatcheries save lives. They help preserve the environment. A simple Google search about “Turtle Hatchery” will give you many results about Sri Lanka and its turtle conservation projects. The Southern coast of Sri Lanka is highly known as an area where turtles lay their eggs.
When the turtles lay their eggs, due to various reasons, not every baby turtle survives. Human beings have become one of the major threats to the survival of these peaceful creatures. To address this, many conservation efforts have been implemented throughout the world.
Did you Know? Only 20% of the released turtles survive out in the ocean and reach adulthood naturally.
Major Threats to Turtles and Eggs
- Whales, Tiger sharks prey upon adult turtles
- Hatchlings and younger turtles are at the risk of being attacked by birds, mammals, crabs and other fish.
- Poachers steal eggs and sell them. As eggs are considered aphrodisiac.
- Turtles are being hunted for their carapace (upper shell) and their meat.
- Fishing nets pose a grave threat to turtles since they can easily get entangled in them.
Read more: Major hazards to sea turtles (IUCN)
Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. (Source: WWF)
A major step for turtle conservation in Sri Lanka has been taken by the Kosgoda sea turtle conservation project (KSTCP). Their aim is to make the public more mindful of how endangered these lovely creatures are, and just how vital it is to protect them before it’s too late. This is the first sea turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka.
This project has been underway since 1988 by Mr Dudley Perera and is operated by local people with the help of international volunteers. They have a systematic process and attentive staff who has the welfare of these beautiful creatures on top of their mind.
They buy turtle eggs from the locals, fishermen to prevent eggs from being ended up in some fancy restaurant to be used to make turtle soup. So if you’re visiting this turtle sanctuary please make a donation to empower them.
The volunteering program experience at Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery is truly unique as you will learn a lot about turtles in general, turtle conservation, the local community, the beautiful island of Sri Lanka and most importantly, being part of saving an animal’s life.
Volunteers get to accommodate themselves with the owner Dudley and his family. Here, volunteers live, learn and work as a team, getting hands-on experience on beach and turtle conservation work, maintaining the turtle hatchery and feeding the turtles. Volunteers here work towards their goal of maximising survival rate of sea turtles.
What are the duties of Volunteers?
- Taking a good care of the turtles that live at the centre.
- Maintaining the nesting sites and the beach.
- Proper burying of eggs purchased from the vendors.
- Cleaning tanks and hatcheries to ensure turtles’ good health.
- Preparation of food and feeding turtles.
- Releasing baby turtles back to the sea
- Take part in educating visitors on the importance of turtle conservation and activities of the sanctuary.
Types of Turtles you’ll meet in KSTCP
Apart from conserving the baby turtles the staff and volunteers also make efforts to treat and care for injured/disabled turtles. Due to their conditions, they wouldn’t survive in the hostile environment in the sea.
Situated just one hour away from Colombo, and just 28 Km from Kalutara, Kosgoda is the most convenient location for wildlife and nature enthusiasts to get actively involved in conservation efforts.
You can reach there by following the Galle road. The centre is just by the road and can easily be located. The opening hours are from 08.30 AM to 06.30 PM but In case It is closed the owner lives nearby so just go straight to his house where you’ll be welcomed.
Important: You’ll notice there are various so-called turtle conservation centres in the area and make sure to keep a photo of the signage of KSTCP with you for your assurance. Some people are trying to lure in travellers to earn buck showing turtles instead of their welfare in mind.
Make a pledge today to save turtles throughout the world, and be a part of a glorious effort of wildlife conservation.
Contact Person: Mr. Dudley Perera
Address: 13A Galle Road, Mahapelena, Kosgoda, Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 91 226 4567 / +94 77 600 7302
Official Website: http://kosgodaseaturtle.org/index.php/contact-us/
Resources and References
Sea Turtle Conservancy
Turtle Conservation Fund
The Great Turtle Project in Sri Lanka
Photo Credit: Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project