Turtle Hatchery

Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery: Of the eight varieties of turtles known to exist, Sri Lanka has five, and all are endangered. They are the leathery turtle and the clove-backed ridgeback turtle. The Loggerhead Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle, and the Green Turtle Although it is illegal to do so, turtles are still captured and their flesh is sold in the markets, as are their eggs. The hawksbill is slaughtered for its beautifully patterned shell. To help save the turtle, hatcheries have sprung up along the West Coast, particularly between Bentota and Kosgoda. Fishermen are paid to collect the eggs (laying mostly takes place between November and April) and hand them over to the hatchery staff, who then bury the eggs in sand inside protective fencing designed to keep dogs and other hungry predators from digging them up. Incubation times vary according to the type of turtle, but with leatherbacks, they are between 62 and 65 days, and with the green turtle, they are 48 to 52 days. Many thousands of hatchlings are released every month. A few hatcheries have been featured in publications like National Geographic and Reader’s Digest, and this has done much to help fund the projects.