Witnessing the night-time ritual of giant sea turtles laying their eggs is of course highly memorable, probably more so when one spares thought for just how long they have been doing so and the risk they might not continue doing so forever – unless we wake up.
For millions of years, long before man inhabited Sri Lanka, turtles returned to the islands deserted beaches to nest and lay their eggs, threatened only by other species of marine life and preying sea birds.
With the onset of mans plundering of natural resources and ‘his’ insatiable appetite for development the very existence of sea turtles and virtually every other wild creature in the world is under threat. Perhaps unwittingly we rely too heavily on passionate conservationists to remind and alert us via the media to damage we do to our planet. Thankfully there are other ways we can be reminded and perhaps contribute, something towards saving this planet and its wonderful but endangered species.
One such way is a simple grass roots initiative at a little known corner of paradise – Rekawa Beach, Near Tangalle, Sri Lanka. Adjacent to Buckingham Place (the hotel) an enduring Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) provides a worthwhile alternative to villager income previously derived from selling turtle eggs – a local delicacy until now. Like all charities the TCP has struggles for funds, existing primarily on visitor contributions. That’s all about to change now with the donation of brand new visitor facilities and a permanent site. Visitor revenues will likely increase as this becomes the premier sea turtle conservation project on the island.
The ‘poacher-turns-gamekeeper’ project over the years has protected thousands of turtles and opened the eyes of similar numbers of tourist visitors, the TCP’s mainstay income.
Awestruck by the spectacle of these giant, pre-historic creatures fighting for survival – as they leave behind their egg-bound descendents on Rekawa’s beach; tourists are often awakened and inspired and many return year after year to help, either by tagging turtles, building capacity amongst turtle watchers or encouraging others to support this worthwhile endeavour financially.
In a fast paced world isn’t it refreshing to hear of smart initiatives to preserve our heritage? By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org you can find out more about turtle watching such as where to stay, where to go and when you are most likely to enjoy this humbling spectacle. Essentially, Buckingham Place is a hotel ‘next door’, more basic accommodation is nearby, and turtles are back on Rekawa beach from February to July.
A TCP turtle watching fee/donation (payable to TCP) will ensure the continuance of this work to help up to 5 of the worlds 7 species of sea turtle so, why not visit and enjoy what may be your moment of awakening?