Run by: The Great Projects
Reference number: The Great Turtle Project
Start Dates are every Sunday of each month.
Volunteer on The Great Turtle Project and take part in monitoring sea turtle activity and protecting local nesting sites in scenic Sri Lanka!
The overall aim of The Great Turtle Project is to preserve and protect Sri Lanka’s sea turtles. By monitoring their activity and conserving nesting site local to the area. Due to dedicated staff and volunteers, the project has been very successful since its humble beginning in 1988.
Volunteers contribute to important conservation activities such as building hatcheries. The specially constructed hatcheries are home to collected and rescued turtle eggs. Here they can avoid their lingering predators and hatch safely before the team release them into the wild at night-time.
Sea turtles reach reproductive age at around 25 years old yet sadly, very few hatchlings will reach adulthood naturally. With the importance of turtle conservation in mind, a small number of hatchlings are kept back at the sanctuary for a short period of time. This is called the ‘head-starting’ programme, where they are guaranteed to survive and are released into the sea once they are slightly older, improving their chances of survival overall.
The hatchery program is extremely important to ensure as many Green, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead and Hawksbill turtles survive the critical stages of their lives and reach the sea. The impressive achievements of this sanctuary are only possible with the continued support of dedicated volunteers.
Caring For Turtles
Volunteers are involved in all aspects of sanctuary life including taking care of the turtle residents at the centre. There are four different species of turtle that are found at the sanctuary, but they are predominantly Green turtles.
Maintaining The Project Area And Beach
Maintaining the project beach and area is incredibly important and as a volunteer, you’ll help ensure the nesting sites remain safe and healthy.
Vendors often bring turtle eggs to the sanctuary, which need safeguarding straight away. As a volunteer, you’ll help to gently bury the turtle eggs in the protected areas.
Cleaning And Constructing Hatcheries
Keeping the turtles fit and healthy is a priority for the sanctuary and in order to do this, the tanks and hatcheries must be kept clean. Volunteers will work on a rota to ensure the sanctuary is kept shipshape! Even cleaning the turtle’s shells!
Feeding the resident turtles is a daily task and as a volunteer, you’ll be involved in the preparation and distribution of their food (which is mainly tuna).
Turtle releases are incredibly rewarding, and understandably a favourite activity! Volunteers will watch the hatchlings on their journey home and will be on hand to scare away any hungry bird predators.
Teaching English To Local Communities
As a volunteer, you’ll spend some afternoons teaching conversational English to locals. Interacting with the community is a great way to spread awareness of turtle conservation!
Volunteers also assist with tours of the hatchery, talking through the project work and educating people about the importance of preserving the sea turtle populations in Sri Lanka.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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