Turtle Conservation Project
Focus: Conservation and Marine biology.
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The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) developed a unique approach to turtle conservation in Rekawa – and continued this up until this day. Firstly, it provides in situ protection for turtle nests.
This means that eggs remain where they were laid, with nest protectors providing protection across the entire beach. This maximizes the yield of the nests and ensures as many hatchlings as possible survive into the sea. All nest protectors that are working on Rekawa beach are local men and are former turtle egg poachers. They protect the beach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in six hour shifts.
The nest-protectors ensure all nests are safe from human poaching and, when possible, from animal predators. Besides these activities they make sure the beach remains clean and support the nightly Turtle Watches by patrolling and spotting turtles as they arrive on the beach, checking on the status of nesting turtles and – if necessary – relocate the eggs to a higher, safer place on the beach if the water could wash away the nest.
Providing this type of in-situ nest protection is the most effective form of turtle nest conservation. When we know a nest is due to hatch, the nest protector regularly checks for activity in the sand and guides the hatchlings to the sea – making sure crabs, birds, dogs and other land predators do not eat them. Late starters are helped and might be spotted by tourists.
The second core element of TCP’s approach was to establish projects that over time become financially self-sustainable, funded predominantly by tourism revenues and completely run by the local community (see also COMMUNITY PROJECTS).
Therefore all benefits from the project directly impact the livelihood of the local people who live alongside the protected wildlife. NFR now runs the daily Turtlewatch in Rekawa and is self-sustainable.
Costs & Benefits
At the Turtle Watch we have a long standing tradition of working with volunteers. We are very grateful for all the work they do. The most important thing is assisting at the daily Turtle Watches, where we help explaining to guests about turtles and our protection program and do crowd control while watching the turtles.
Activities consist of:
Daily Turtle Watches and conservation activities
Marketing and promotions
Community outreach and awareness raising
Upkeep of the beach and Visitors Centre
English Teaching (children and adults)
We also like to encourage volunteers to follow their own interests as much as possible, with new initiatives to help the programme and the local community. If you are interested in joining our team, please ask for more details from one of the volunteers or guides at the visitors centre. Alternatively contact us by email.
There is no permanent (international) volunteering staff so it is mostly up to you to find your way around – you need to be a self starter. When volunteering there are several documents at your disposal, to provide you with all necessary information.
You do need to be a self-starter, confident to speak English (other languages are an asset), very flexible and preferably 21 or older. We recommend staying at least two weeks. Of course the Nature Friends of Rekawa are always willing to show you around. They are very much helped by a volunteer fee.
Most volunteers usually stay at Mama Daisy’s Homestay, a lovely little traditional place r
un by Daisy. She offers basic but nice accommodation and is an amazing cook. If there are any free rooms, she is also welcoming tourists that want to spend the night in Rekawa. Please look on her website for prices. The Nature Friends of Rekawa are also able to provide accommodation.
US$ 500, US$ 750, US$ 2000, US$ 4000, for 2 weeks, 1, 3 or 6 months respectively; includes accommodation and food.
No special skills required. Volunteers must be enthusiastic, efficient, willing to work as part of a team and have a strong adaptability. Volunteers aged 18 and over.
Turtle Conservation Project
11, Perera Mawatha,
Madakumbura, Panadura, Sri Lanka
Tel: ++94 (777) 810 508/9 or ++94 (38) 567 0168
Location:Panadura, Sri Lanka
Average cost per day:$22
Focus: Conservation and Marine biology
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old