Around the world, many countries are doing their bit to support the beautiful and endangered turtle. The following nations offer the visitor a rare glimpse at conservation efforts first-hand, where the protection of these wonderful creatures is of the utmost importance.
Nothing beats the experience and emotion of watching turtles lay their eggs on the beach, or quietly witnessing the little ones paddling out to sea.
At Audley we offer a range of destinations where you can experience this wonderful spectacle first-hand. Below are just a few of our favourites, where viewing is undertaken in a responsible way and by visiting them you are directly contributing to their conservation.
Turtle Conservation in French Polynesia
The Turtle Sanctuary at Le Méridien Bora Bora, an effort to help save the magnificent hawksbill turtle, is the only one of its kind in French Polynesia. The hotel offers educational presentations to teach guests about these beautiful creatures, and guests can swim with the turtles in the picturesque lagoon or even 'adopt' a turtle and help in the quest to return these animals to their natural wild habitat.
Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka
The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) was set up in Sri Lanka in 1993 and their work aims to preserve and support sea turtles through educational research and community participation. As with many conservation projects, the TCP welcomes volunteers who can help them achieve their vision of making Sri Lankan seas a heavenly habitat for turtles.
Turtle Conservation in Zanzibar
A few miles off the northeast coast of Zanzibar Island lies Mnemba Island. Here, green turtles nest at the top of the beach. Each time a turtle nests, the Mnemba Lodge staff mark the spot with a 'due date'. Then, at the due date a close eye is kept on the nests and guests can watch the young turtles hatching and making their way to the sea.
Turtle Conservation in Kenya
Out of the seven species of turtle in the world, five reside in the waters off Kenya. The Lamu Marine Conservation Trust seeks to protect these turtles by treating the sick or injured and spreading awareness among tourists and local communities which will, in turn, help to reduce the number of turtle products on the black market. This trust is supported by Carol and Lars Korschen of Peponi Hotel in Lamu, a property that you can stay at on a trip with Audley.
Turtle Conservation in Mozambique
On Vamizi Island in Mozambique over 100 turtles nest each year. With four, full-time rangers and one marine biologist on hand, the turtles, all of which are listed as either endangered or critically-endangered, have their nests protected and hatchlings nurtured as part of a conservation effort. Vamizi Island can be visited on a tailor-made trip with Audley.
Turtle Conservation in South Africa
Every summer along the northeast coastline of South Africa, hundreds of leatherback and loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean to lay their eggs. In 1963 a conservation project was set up to help protect these eggs and this effort is still running today. During laying season nightly patrols are taken by staff to monitor the turtles and data is also collected to help understand the breeding patterns of these animals.
Turtle Conservation in Borneo
Situated close to the better known island of Sipadan; Mataking Island is an island split in two by a sandbar and is home to nesting green and hawksbill turtles. Due to threats to the turtle’s nests posed by an array of predators, their eggs are put in a turtle hatchery. Once hatched, visitors can assist the conservation project as they release the newly born turtles into the sea.
Turtle Conservation in the Seychelles
As well as being a fantastic place to stay, Lemuria Resort in the Seychelles employs a full time ‘turtle manager’ to record turtle nesting activity, monitor the dynamics of sand movement, manage beachfront vegetation and generally ensure that guest activities at the Lemuria Resort are carried out in a turtle friendly manner.
Turtle Conservation in Brazil
The TAMAR project protects around 50 kilometres of coastline around Praia do Forte, located on the northeast coast of Brazil. This work helps to maintain a healthy breeding ground for more than 550 nesting turtles and those visiting between September and March can see hawksbill, green, olive ridley and loggerhead turtle hatchlings.
Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica
The 19,000 hectare Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica was created in 1970 in response to the endangered status of the green turtle. Between March and mid-October the 35 km (15 miles) of protected beach are the nesting ground for hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and green turtles. Visitors are accompanied by a guide during the twilight hours to witness the hatchlings in a responsible manner.
Turtle Conservation in Australia
For a more hands-on conservation project, assist the Aboriginal Rangers and Wildlife turtle population in the Cape York area, namely ghost nets left by irresponsible fishermen, and feral pigs who feast on the turtle’s nests. In addition, research in also carried out on the size, location and success of the nesting turtles. The work is carried out in the morning and late evening, allowing guests to relax and enjoy the stunning surroundings in the middle of the day.
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