Navy in Sri Lanka Supports Turtle Conservation Projects

News in Asia
Navy in Sri Lanka Supports Turtle Conservation Projects

Sri Lanka Navy spends more time on projects dedicated to conservation of turtles that inhabit the country's sea waters. Many of the species of turtles found in Sri Lanka are considered endangered species and need protection. 

A number of turtle conservation projects has been initiated under the patronage of Commander of the Navy and Steering Committee Head of Marine and Eco Friendly Projects, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva. The projects are conducted on the beaches where turtles show up often and lay eggs. Over the last two years, over 5,700 baby turtles were released into the ocean in the frame of these projects. The Navy conducts special trainings for the personnel who are in charge of the turtle conservation projects in order to ensure turtles are not disturbed and the hatchings proceed successfully. The latest release of baby turtles took place in the Southeastern Naval Command on March, 9 and 10 when 250 animals were let out into the ocean.

Some of the most common turtles in Sri Lanka are Green Turtles. These huge turtles reaching 1 m in length and 250 kg in weight are often seen by divers. Hawkbill Turtles, a much rarer variety, is also a frequient visitor to Sri Lanka. Loggerhead Turtle is extremely rare yet sometimes is seen near the shores of Sri Lanka, too. The smallest of the sea turtles, the endangered Olive Ridley Turtle, lay their eggs on Kosgoda Beach. The Leatherback Turtle is on the brink of extinction and needs urgent protection.

While all the sea turtles have their own natural predators, the main danger for them is humans.  As turtles and their eggs are considered a delicacy and aphrodisiac across Asia, they are a valuable commodity on the black market. Many tutrtles also end up entangled accidentally in fisherman’s nets. Tourist activities on the beaches where turtles lay eggs deter turtles from nesting.

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