Turtle conservation and hatcheries of Sri Lanka

Of the seven different species of sea turtles that grace the ocean’s waters, nearly all of them are classified as endangered. Sri Lanka is home to five of these ancient breeds – green, leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead and olive ridley turtles – which have roamed the shallow seagrass beds of the Indian ocean for over 100 million years.

A number of projects work across the southwestern coastal towns of the island with the aim of preventing further decline of their population and ensuring viable nesting conditions.

Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery

Located on the southwestern corner of the island in Habaraduwa, about an hour’s drive south of some of the major coastal resorts, the Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery is a non-profitable organisation founded in 1986.

Having managed to release over 500,000 turtles back into the ocean, the hatchery relies heavily on visitors to raise funds for their continuing work.

Wander around the outdoor enclosures with a knowledgeable member of staff and you’ll observe baby turtles wiggling in the sand under incubators and injured turtles in the rehabilitation area. You can also view all five turtle species in the tanks, as some turtles are looked after here permanently to educate people on the value of turtle conservation.

Induruwa sea turtles

Just north of the coastal resort Kosgoda, Induruwa is another fantastic conservation project with the aim of boosting sea turtle numbers in the wild. The Induruwa hatchery provides treatment for injured turtles caught by fishing nets and collects turtle eggs from the beach to hatch safely away from natural predators and poachers. It also raises the awareness of turtle conservation at both a regional and international level.

Guests are invited to join in with the expert staff, placing freshly collected eggs into holes in the sand and helping to release those strong enough back into the wild. For that extra special souvenir, adopt a turtle and track its movements throughout the world’s oceans via a GPS tracking device once it’s been released back into the wild.

Kosgoda sea turtle conservation project

Kosgoda is one of Sri Lanka’s prime nesting spots where female turtles head back to the same beach each year to lay up to 120 eggs at a time before returning to the sea. As one of the island’s most pioneering conservation projects, the main aim of the project is to monitor local sea turtle activity, conserve the local nesting sites and increase awareness on the importance of protecting these prehistoric wonders before it’s too late.

Within the sanctuary, collected and rescued eggs are given the optimum conditions to hatch away from predators before being released into the wild. With the help of local and international volunteers, the project works to educate local communities and international visitors about the importance of conservation through guided, informative tours.

Hikkaduwa turtle sanctuary

This wonderful little sanctuary in Hikkaduwa was severely hit by the 2004 tsunami, which saw the destruction of all their hard work and the tragic loss of many loved ones. In memory of those lost, two of the original owners’ sons have rebuilt the project with the help of volunteers from all corners of the world. As with most of the rescue centres up and down the coast, you can observe eggs hatching, feeding and the release of turtles back into the wild.

Take a guided tour around the project and learn about the crucial work being done by volunteers and what you can do to help these ancient sea creatures return from endangerment.

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