07.02.2014 - 07.02.2014 32 °C
It occurred to me a while back that this is more of a wildlife/nature holiday than my previous forays into Asia, which have been more focused on culture. So it should not be a surprise that one of my favourite parts of the Bentota Beach stay was a visit to a turtle conservation project.
Upon arrival - for a few seconds - I was shocked at how many fatalities they have... until I realised it was just the hatchery.
With eggs like the most delicate table tennis balls, it's no wonder the success rate for hatching in the wild is estimated to be only 20:80. The hatchlings are kept for 3 days before release, as it takes this long for their eyes to open and their belly buttons to close, giving them the best chance of survival. The first photo below shows a 1-day old, but the second photo is of a feisty pair from the 2-day tank.
Of course, there are arguments for and against this type of conservation, and a balanced view needs to be taken.
Apart from the hatchlings, the project also cares for some long-term or lifetime residents, including those born with deformities and a few that were rescued with injuries from the tsunami like the little (35kg) fella below that lost its front fins in the disaster.
And then there are those that are kept for their public relations value. This one doesn't mind being held, but not for too long.