A species that has been swimming the world’s oceans for over 100 million years, sea turtles play a vital role in preserving the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. Sadly their numbers are on the decline due to human activities; of the seven species of marine turtles, three are listed as endangered and another three as critically endangered.
The south coast of Sri Lanka including the beach areas in and around the resort are nesting sites for five of the six endangered sea turtle species namely the Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley and Green Turtle. This has given us the unique opportunity to take a hands-on approach to their conservation through the creation of the Relax and Release Turtle Conservation Project and our own turtle hatchery in Koggala.
As part of the project, we look to buy eggs laid by nesting turtles that have been taken by fishermen and purchase them at a price that is higher than what they would normally fetch at the local market. These eggs are then carefully buried within the safe enclosures of our hatchery located near The Fortress Resort & Spa. Once they hatch and the time is right, the baby turtles are released out to sea.
While the Relax and Release Turtle Conservation Project looks to involve local communities in the conservation process, we encourage guests to join as well. Apart from visiting the hatchery, depending on the time of year (October to April being the main nesting season), you can actually take part in releasing and watching hatchlings safely make their way to the oncoming waves. Hopefully, many years from now some of them will return to this very beach ready to give birth to a whole new generation of baby turtles.