Sri Lanka turtle conservation continues after tsunami
In the wake of the tsunami no one knew how the teeming wildlife in the seas surrounding Sri Lanka would be affected. But as the debris is cleared from the beaches and new homes are being constructed the turtles are also getting back to business as usual.
In fact it appears that the turtles somehow sensed the pending tsunami and in the nights preceding the event few turtles came onto the beaches to lay their eggs. Our Overseas Director, Richard Clowes was in Sri Lanka over Christmas and commented how he was surprised that virtually no turtles were washed up on the beach when the tsunami hit. It seems they stayed far out in the ocean waiting for the calm seas to return.
The turtle project is now running as usual with the volunteers patrolling the beaches, protecting the eggs, giving educational talks and helping with some of the relief work going on in the local area.
Laura Page is currently in Sri Lanka working on the turtle project, she tells us:
'After living on this tropical island for three weeks, I can now understand fully why people refer to Sri Lanka as the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean", from the organized chaos in the sprawling city of Colombo, to the much more relaxed pace of life in the small coastal villages, one thing certainly remains the same wherever you go; the warm smiles from locals who welcome you into their homes.
So far I've experienced Green turtles on night watch, coming ashore to nest: their huge, heavy frames lumbering up the sand with the moonlight reflecting off their precious shells. A truly awesome sight, so natural, and such a fulfilling thought that we are doing all we can to protect these endangered beauties. I've also been part of a group, visiting other projects run on the south coast at Rekawa. I never realized how much politics and organisation there is involved in running such a scheme. Although the work is physically tiring in the heat of the day, and time is needed for your body to adapt to the new climate, and new, spicy mouthwatering food, the rewards are felt by a simple "thankya" from a local, or the sight of a female turtle returning to the swell of the vast blue ocean, knowing that her eggs will be watched and protected by employed nest protectors until they emerge as eager hatchlings ready to return to the sea.
It is comforting to know there is a team here ready to support you through this challenging and most satisfying experience. I've learnt more about life in the last three weeks than I thought I ever could; and there is still much more to come.'
If like Laura you fancy working with turtles on the Sri Lankan coast click here for more information.