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Sea Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka

Save these beautiful tiny creatures! Volunteer to help save the sea turtles in Sri Lanka in a safe and supported conservation project.

 


At a glance

Volunteer work: Sea turtles in Sri Lanka

Accommodation: Shared apartment in volunteer house

Meals: x3 meals a day included

Dates: Starts on Saturdays

 

What will I be looking after?

Sea turtles! The programme aims to rehabilitate disabled turtles and protect turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers. Participants will learn how to collect eggs, identify different kinds of turtles, how eggs hatch, how to treat turtles, how to send turtles back to the sea and so much more!

About the project:

The overall aim of this sea turtle conservation project is to monitor sea turtle activity and conserve the local nesting sites in the South of Sri Lanka. Within the sanctuary of the specially constructed hatchery, collected and rescued eggs can hatch safely away from predators, before being released into the sea at night-time. 

Sri Lanka has several nesting beaches for sea turtles and unfortunately poaching from humans, predators and dogs can be a common occurrence if unsupervised. To safeguard against this, the Sri Lankan government have authorised 22 turtle hatcheries along the country’s western and southern coastline, who’s main purpose is to provide for the overall well-being of the sea turtles and increase their numbers through conservation efforts. This includes preserving the eggs from predators and poachers, providing a safe haven for hatching's to occur, caring for baby, sick and injured turtles, feeding them daily and releasing the healthy ones into the ocean when ready. While these hatcheries engage in conservation efforts to support the sea turtle ecosystem, it is important to note that they also rely on contributions from tourists (who visit these hatcheries to learn about sea turtles) to earn a living as they receive little to no funding from the government to maintain their operations. 

Turtles are under threat in Sri Lanka and volunteers are really needed to help out with conservation efforts. Fishing is one of the major industries in Sri Lanka and the location of the project is very close to the local fisheries port. Sea turtles are often found in fishing nets and many have lost limbs becoming disabled and are no longer able to survive in the wild. Many of these disabled turtles are found by local Sri Lankans who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.

What will I be doing at the conservation project?

Volunteers will typically be working in the hatchery for the sea turtles (3-4 hours a day) that have been rescued and are now living in the project site.

Some of the typical duties you’ll undertake include:

  • For 3 days a week, you work in the hatchery for about 2.5-3 hours per day.  Cleaning the tanks and the general hatchery area, feeding the turtles, giving sick and injured turtles medicines as per the directions of the hatchery staff, filling tanks with sea water, and other ad hoc tasks as and when necessary.
  • 1 day a week is dedicated for beach cleaning in and around the Galle area. This involves one session for 2-4 hours where you clean beach areas from plastic and other rubbish that are damaging the oceans and marine life (including sea turtles) of Sri Lanka.
  • 1 day a week is dedicated to community teaching (or special projects). Community work involves preparing presentations and going to rural schools to educate the children about turtles and their value in the ecosystem. This is a group effort aided by the local team. Special projects (e.g. educational signage campaign) are also be done from time to time to provide education to locals and tourists on the importance of turtle and marine conservation.
  • Additionally, during nesting season (Dec-March) we will do occasional night camps where groups spend the night in tents on the beach with the hope of watching mother turtles hatch their eggs.
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