Sri Lanka has one of the world’s most significant breeding spots for many endangered species of the sea turtle, because the heavy development of the coast over there has greatly contributed to their already declining number. So, to combat this growing trend, a number of wonderful hatcheries have been started along the southern coast. The one in Habaraduwa is very famous.
A visit to this small hatchery costs 400 INR per person. The hatchery was split into some sections. A very tiny patch of sand contained some batches of eggs also known as “clutches” in the corner. Each clutch was labeled with the date of when they were laid, their exact species and the total number of eggs that the clutch had. It is fascinating that about one set of these eggs hatch every day. It is also surprising how close and tightly these clutches are placed next to each other.
The rest of the hatchery is occupied by a number of water tanks. You can see around dozens or less baby turtles swimming clumsily about in some tanks. They look very cute, and are kept in captivity until the fourth day of their life when they are finally released into the ocean. If you travel with a guide, he will explain to you that when these turtles are a bit older, the chances of their survival increase dramatically.
The other tanks hold injured turtles and you may feel free to nickname them. The propeller takes care of them performing surgeries on them if needed and tending all their medical needs. These tanks are meant for the recovery of injured turtles. In these tanks you can see those turtles who had been found barely clinging to their lives on the beaches, including a couple of the impressively large specimens, who swim about their tanks while recovering in their hatchery waiting patiently to heal so that they can be re-released too.
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Sri Lanka, after all is a vital habitat for these sea turtles. It is a fact and has been observed that five out of the seven endangered species of turtles come to the shores of the Sri Lanka beaches and lay their eggs. Witnessing these adults and newly-hatched turtles is a very popular tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. There are more turtle hatcheries like the one in Habaraduwa. In fact, throughout Sri Lanka’s south western coastline, there are many turtle hatcheries that do a good job of conserving sea turtles. You can visit Bentota, Kosgoda, Induruwa, Galle, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Koggala. These are few towns where you can enjoy experiencing adorable encounters with turtles.
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