Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery

Tonight we went to the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery on Bentota beach in Sri Lanka. We arrived at 6:30pm as advised by Lonely Planet and we're not disappointed! We were the only people looking around the hatchery and had a great tour of the whole sanctuary.

Fishermen collect eggs laid by the females on beaches and take them to the hatchery to receive 2,000 rupees (£10). They're collected as otherwise iguana, monitor lizards and mongoose dig up and eat the eggs.

The eggs are buried in nests in the hatchery, covered by fencing and netted over the top to keep predators and birds out.
The turtles hatch overnight as it's cooler and are looked over for deformities, blindness and sexed according to tail length; males go into one nursery pool and females are kept separate.
Males are kept for 3 days while they absorb the yolk sac and fed some fish food pellets before being released into the ocean at night. A much lower percentage of females hatch so they are kept for a few years to grow until they are bigger and stronger to give them a fighting chance at survival.

The hatchery had quite a few large females ready for release as well as some residents - two blind and four with deformities, from one missing fin to all four fins missing. These are all hand fed tuna and seaweed.
After being shown all around the hatchery we collected 15 three-day-old Green Turtle hatchlings and headed down to the beach.
There were two Sea Eagles hanging around so we waited for them to leave and then released the babies into the Indian Ocean.

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