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7 May

Saving the Sea Turtles of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers some of the greatest opportunities on earth to witness the breeding cycle of many varieties of sea turtles. Of the seven species of sea turtle, five—namely the Green turtle, the Loggerhead turtle, the Leatherhead turtle, the Hawksbill turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle—return to their breeding grounds each year on the beaches of Sri Lanka

One of the many reasons why people visit Sri Lanka every year is the fascinating wildlife of that country.

Sadly, while many people who come to Sri Lanka love sea turtles, some of those visitors may not be fully aware that the Sri Lanka’s Sea turtles are in danger of extinction and that humans have played a pivotal role in the declining numbers of turtles returning to breed each year. Happily, there is hope on the horizon for the sea turtles however, thanks to conservation projects set up by Sri Lanka’s Wildlife Protection Society, which are getting both locals and visitors to Sri Lanka involved in projects to protect and save the sea turtles.

Natural and Man-Made Dangers

The life of a young sea turtle is fraught with danger. Only about one turtle in a thousand survives to maturity. In addition to threats from the turtles’ natural predators, the young turtles are now besieged by numerous human-created dangers.

Not only has climate change led to the loss of many important nesting beaches for the turtles, but pollution has caused disruption to the turtles’ nesting behaviour and weakened their immune systems, making them susceptible to an increased number of diseases. Meanwhile, fishing has also contributed to the destruction of the turtles’ habitat and caused the deaths of turtles entangled in nets. Moreover, many sea  turtles and their eggs are taken for food and for the manufacture of various products.

Sea Turtle Sri Lanka Watching on the Beaches

Top of many visitors’ must-see lists when they visit Sri Lanka are the beaches where the sea turtles come to lay their eggs. The main nesting season is in July, although it may be possible to see the turtles in their natural environment at other times of year. They may even be sighted further from the shore by passengers on cruise liners.

Guided Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Tours

Sri Lankan Sea Turtles can easily be distressed by people and put off from nesting, it is important to be in the company of a guide who can advise visitors on how and when to approach the turtles and, if they wish, take photographs of the creatures without scaring them away from their nesting area. It is, of course, impossible to guarantee that the turtles will nest at a certain time or in a certain location. Anyone who is interested in turtle watching will need to be willing to be patient, as there is likely to be a lot of waiting around and searching for the turtles’ exact nesting location.

sri lanka sea turtles

Support for the Conservation Projects from Locals and Visitors to Sri Lanka

To address the many threats to the future of the sea turtles, conservation projects have been set up by Sri Lanka’s Wild Life Protection Society.

These sea turtles conservation projects include a turtle hatchery which buys sea turtle eggs which have been collected by fishermen from the beach.

Most of the eggs are collected during the turtles’ main laying season, which runs from October through to April. However, some eggs can be found on beaches all year round. The eggs which are bought by the hatchery are buried in sand, much as they would be on the beach, except that the hatchery ensures that the eggs are protected until they hatch. It takes approximately fifty days for the eggs to hatch and when they have done so, the baby turtles are freed into the sea at night.

The hatchery also has tanks set aside for injured turtles or ones which would have difficulty surviving in the wild such as albino turtles. Depending on the time of year, visitors to the hatchery may be offered the opportunity of helping to release the baby turtles back into the wild. This activity is popular both with tourists and locals and it serves an important purpose as everyone involved is helping to protect the turtles.

Templeberg Villa’s partnership with the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project

Templeberg Villa have teamed up with Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project ( the KSTC Project) to launch their joint “crowdunding project” dedicated to raising awareness of turtle conservation.Both organisations want as many people to donate as possible ahead of tWorld Turtle Day on May 23 2014 and World Sea Turtle Day on 14 June 2014.

The KSTC Project has been underway since 1988. The main aim of the project is to monitor local sea turtle activity and conserve the local nesting sites.The hatchling centre was wiped out in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 200 adult sea turtles were killed. Despite the tsunami the hatchery facility was lovingly rebuilt in 2005 and with the help of volunteers once again the Centre has been able to breed sea turtles and restore the turtles natural beach habitat.

To donate to the Turtle crowdfunding project visit เดอะบีชเฮาส์

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