Other countries can learn from Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery the art of propagating turtles

Sri Lanka and animal restoration

Other countries can learn from Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery the art of propagating turtles
Image Source - By author, Dr Souvik Chatterjee
The Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery in Sri Lanka is a sensation. It got washed away during Tsunami. Yet it was remade and still propagates turtles.

Those countries prosper in the world, which care for their citizens, human life and life of animals and birds. Harmless animals and birds require protection and care on the part of Government organizations, Non-Governmental organizations, voluntary organizations. Sri Lanka is one such country, where efforts are made to protect different animals by providing them natural habitats.

Generally animals require protection. If the animals are vulnerable to the predators then they require further protection. In the cycle of life, the carnivorous animals feed on the herbivorous animals. Herbivorous animals like deers, cows, goats, etc.

feed on leaves of trees. The carnivorous animals like tigers, lions, cheetahs, wolves, feed on the deers, bisons, etc. In the context of small animals also, there are prey and predator relationship. In case of small animals the big animals create huge pressure on the small animals. Turtles are one of those species who can be eaten up by many powerful animals. In Sri Lanka a lot of animals create attention for the tourists. The turtle hatchery in Kosgoda near Bentota is a sensation. Both Bentota and Beruwala are beach destinations. Sri lanka has a tropical climate. The entire country is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, so there are seawaters on every corner of the country. In the eastern part the Bay of Bengal meets the Indian Ocean. In the western part the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean. The meeting point of Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean is around 150 kilometers away from the tip of Sri Lanka.

Generally turtles leave their eggs in the sand. There are a lot predators who on easy opportunity eat up the eggs and chances of the turtle community prospering gets doomed. As the mother turtles lay the eggs on the sea-shores, in the sands at night and leave the place, it becomes easy for the powerful animals to eat up the eggs. If there are no guard, the eggs just disappear at short period of time.

Dudley Perera and his family started the project way back in the 1980s. From that time the project became bigger and assumed importance.  The project came to be known as a serious project. The entire project faced the worst days when Tsunami struck in 2004. Tsunami struck different parts of the world and mainly the coastal areas. While the coastal areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka was affected seriously in India, the coastal areas of Sri Lanka also got washed away. The entire hatchery was washed way. Both the breeding turtles and the eggs were destroyed and the project came back to square one. If the case happened with any other hatchery in any part of the world, the owners and caretakers would have lost hope and gave away the project. It did not happen in the case of Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery.

But again the hatchery was created. Presently a lot of funding comes from different parts of the world.  Kosgoda turtle hatchery has emerged as one of the leading tourist destinations for international tourists who come to visit Sri Lanka.

There is high entry tickets in Kosgoda Turtle hatchery. Visitors are supposed to pay entry tickets worth 500 Sri Lankan rupees to see the Hatchery. A guide takes the visitors to the place and explains the fate of the turtles from 7 weeks birth time to few months and few years. Turtles are known to live for more than 100 years. As far as maintenance of turtles in the hatchery, the turtles of different ages have different requirements and all of them require different treatment.

The entire stretch of sands and beaches in Kosgoda, Bentota and Beruwala is amazing. During winter months from December to January visitors flock to these destinations to have sunbath. The countries from where tourists flock to Sri Lanka in November, December, January, include France, England, Spain, Australia, Russia, USA, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Romania. These are those countries which due to the strategic location don’t get adequate sunlight in the major part of the year. Sri Lanka is very close to the equator and as such in winters the temperature never go below 15 degrees Celsius. So in those aspects the foreignors who come from colder countries find a tropical paradise in the beaches in Kosgoda, Beruwala and Bentota. The stretches of sands in Bentota, Beruwala and Kosgoda are very long. All these places are known to have yellow sands.

In the Kosgoda hatchery, there are night-guards who do patrolling at night. The turtles after mating lay their eggs some distance away from the sea-shores. The guards bring those eggs and bury them in the sand. They are very careful and make sure that the eggs don’t fall and break while bringing them to the hatchery. There are scientific reasoning as to the level of sand where the eggs are supposed to be kept. The eggs become fertile at particular temperature in the sand and at particular level of the sand. After the baby turtles come out of the eggs there are small bath-tubs kept in the hatchery where the turtles are allowed to breed. The temperature of water in the bath tubs are same as the temperature of water in sea. Food is provided to the turtles and they grow in natural habitat. The employees who work in the Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda are trained and professional. Adequate knowledge and training is required on the part of the employees to help the turtles survive in natural habitat in Kosgoda.

If visitors get an opportunity to visit Sri Lanka, while travelling across the religious places, exotic beaches, water bodies, they should also visit the Kosgoda turtle hatchery. They should buy the entry tickets and visit the Kosgoda turtle hatchery. If possible they can buy food and feed the turtles in the hatchery. It is a lifetime experience of a tourist who visit the Turtle hatchery and artificially human created natural habitat. He or she can cherish the memory for many generations.

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