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Updated by Kelinton Felder on May 11, 2016
Headline for Turtle Conservation Projects in Sri Lanka – Marine Conservation in Action
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Turtle Conservation Projects in Sri Lanka – Marine Conservation in Action

As a rewarding activity tourists can enjoy in Sri Lanka, the many turtle conservation initiatives in the country are open to volunteers. Here are some of the best programmes for short term visitors.

1

Turtle Night Watch Programme

As an initiative that the TCP has launched to protect the nests of sea turtles on the south coast beaches, the Turtle Night Watch Programme is run by the Turtle Nest Protectors from the Rekawa Rookery. As donations and contributions from eco tourism funds this particular programme, the volunteers desired for this particular conservation effort should ideally posses a marketing education or experience to promote the activities of the Turtle Nest Protectors and make the visiting public more aware of the means by which they can contribute to the effort. Volunteers must sign up at the new hatchery in Kosgoda and will be taking care of duties such as designing leaflets and other marketing materials while forming connections with local businesses and hospitality establishments to get the local business community involved. Talking to tourists and organizing presentations at hotels and resorts are also part of the responsibilities volunteers will take on during their stint.

2

Mangrove Growth and Replenishment Programme

A programme developed and run by the Turtle Conservation Project, the setting up of mangrove nurseries in areas such as Kalpitiya, Rekawa and Kosgoda is another volunteer initiative visitors can take part in to regenerate mangrove forests in these areas. As a project that indirectly influences the preservation of mangrove flora and fauna, the replanting of thousands of plant species in selected areas where mangroves have diminished due to human activities is the chief objective of this programme.

3

In Situ Research and Conservation Programme

Taking place in the TCP's turtle conservation hubs in Rekawa which is located in the island's southern coast and in Kosgoda which occupies the south-western shores of the island, this the In Situ Research and Conservation Programme is perhaps the most immersive volunteer opportunity available in Sri Lanka. Volunteers will be expected to work with the communities in these areas to safeguard beach nesting grounds for five turtle species that lay eggs on Sri Lankan shores. Research assistant volunteers are also required for this project to aid in data collection and other standard research initiatives. Note that training will be provided by professional conservationists while research assistant volunteers must also be prepared to conduct night / day watches on the beach on shift basis.

4

Model Medicinal Gardens

Another TCP initiative, this project involves the development and promotion of a model medicinal garden which was set up in the Rekawa School. Volunteers signing up for this particular programme will have to aid the organization maintain the growth of the garden while exploring the venue's educational potential on local plant varieties and their medicinal values; additionally it includes helping the TCP generate ideas on developing income raising models for medicinal gardens of this nature.

5

Research

College students and research oriented tourists visiting the island can volunteer at the many TCP lead initiatives in the coastal regions of the island while completing their own research. The only condition is that the data collected as part of these research projects are shared with the Turtle Conservation Project.

6

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Other duties visitors can take part in while on holiday in the Tangalle area include collecting bio metric data on turtles, locating nests on the beach as well as tagging new migrant turtles. Taking part in nest excavations and identifying false crawls are other daily activities visitors can participate in along with the project leaders while weighing eggs and collecting data on hatchlings will also be part of the duties of volunteers. Visitors based at Sri Lanka luxury resorts such as the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort can inquire on conservation programmes in the area through the hotel.