26th May 2017

Visiting a Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka: Why I regret visiting

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

“These ones are three days old,” our guide said, lifting a baby turtle out of the water.

The turtle flapped his tiny flippers as our guide gestured at me to hold out my hand. I shook my head. “No.”

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com


Sri Lanka is home to a number of endemic species that can’t be found in other parts of the world. It is quite simply bursting with wildlife… from the elephants that roam the rural areas, to huge blue whales found off the shores of the south, to the hundreds of species of birds you can spot throughout the country. People visit Sri Lanka from all over the world, not only for its stunning beaches and historic cities, but also to see the wildlife up close.

The area on Sri Lanka’s west coast sees particularly high levels of sea turtles. Like everyone else, I wanted to see them on our visit to Sri Lanka. I had seen photos of these tiny little guys in the palms of peoples’ hands on Instagram. I wanted to see them flapping across the sand towards the sea. Because why wouldn’t you, right?

Most of the establishments along the west coast market themselves as ‘sea turtle conservation projects’. Many species of the sea turtles in these establishments are endangered, so the projects describe themselves as organisations that have the conservation of these beautiful animals as their number one priority.

So, I started my research into which conservation project to visit.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com


Turtle Watching, Sri Lanka

The first project I found, which was recommended in my Lonely Planet guide, advised that you went to the establishment at 8pm and waited for the female turtles to come ashore to nest. Once she had finished nesting, visitors were allowed to go to the beach and watch her as she flapped her way back to the sea.

The establishment’s website advised that loud noise (music, talking etc.) and bright lights were prohibited. Lights can confuse the turtles, who mistake them for the light of the moon on the ocean. The rules advised visitors are allowed to take a red torch and to take photos without flash photography.

It sounded promising, but the reviews on TripAdvisor advised otherwise. In fact, up to seventy tourists were allowed to access the beach at once, crowding around the 3-4 turtles that were trying to get back to the sea. People were noisy, flash photography was used… and according to the reviews, the the organisation did little to stop it.

I recoiled. I didn’t want to support this. Not only would it stress the turtle out, having hoards of tourists trying to take its photo and shining lights in its face, but it would stress me out if other people weren’t acting in a sensible and responsible manner.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

Rekawa Beach in the evening – you can see the sea turtles’ tracks on the left


Visiting a Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka

Instead, we looked at visiting a sea turtle hatchery. We settled on the place with the best reviews on TripAdvisor and even changed our itinerary last-minute so that we could include a night in Bentota and have enough time to visit.

But despite all of my research, I knew from the start that we might not enjoy our visit. I’m always sceptical of visiting attractions that involve animals, as sometimes they don’t have the animals’ best interests at heart and operate on a for-profit basis, like the first place I had researched.

“Are you sure about this, Abs? It might upset you,” James said to me as we boarded the bus for Kosgoda. I assured him I had read the reviews and this place sounded promising. Not a single negative review. I swallowed my doubts and off we went.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

I broadcasted our experience on my Instagram stories.

But the moment we had paid our entrance fee, I regretted coming here.

The sight before my eyes wasn’t particularly inviting: a few rows of small, concrete “tanks” were in front of us. I could see a flipper or shell poking out of one or two of them. I took a deep breath and told myself that it was in the turtles’ best interests.

Our guide began the tour. At the first tank, she explained that after the turtles hatch, they are kept at the project for the first five days of their lives for “head starting”. She explained that many turtles don’t survive the predators of the sea, but in the tanks, they are able to build their strength before heading back to the big, scary ocean.

“That’s not so bad,” I told myself. Plus, they were cute, I have to admit. Some of them seemed to be playing with each other, but others were flapping furiously at the walls of the concrete tank, perhaps in the hope they could get out.

But then she fished one of them out and held him up to us. I realised this might be a little different to how I expected it to be.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

It soon turned sour

The next tank had slightly bigger “babies” in them. These ones were a couple of months old, and again, we were told that they are kept in the tanks to increase their chances of survival. I shook away a thought that popped into my head: Why do some of them go back to the sea after five days, and some after a few months?

As our tour went on, the sickening feeling in my stomach got progressively worse.

The next few tanks held bigger turtles. These ones were two years old and we were told they would be released into the sea at three years old. As always when in Asia, you begin to question the honesty of what you’re told. I hoped with all my heart that they weren’t kept here any longer than that.

There were two or three turtles of different species in these tanks. Although they had a companion, these turtles looked the saddest, almost hanging their heads in despair. They swam back and forth in their concrete boxes, pausing now and then to interact with their cellmate.

“You want to hold them?” our guide asked.

I shuddered. I dread to think how many times those turtles have been lifted out of the water so people can take photos with them.

“No, thank you.” I said.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.comSea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

Why were they kept there?

I asked our guide why these turtles were still here. Surely they were strong enough to return to the ocean now, after up to two years in the tanks.

Her response for both the two-month old and two-year old turtles was the same: “for education”.

I didn’t understand so I asked her to clarify.

The turtles are kept in the tanks to allow visitors to see what the different species look like. Visitors such as school groups and tourists – like us – are able to see these beautiful animals up close in a “responsible” way, as the entrance fees go towards the conservation of these previous species. I nodded, but it didn’t seem completely transparent.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

Alone and solemn

The next turtle had a tank to himself. He was deformed: his shell was twisted to one side and he struggled to swim. We were told that his chances of survival at sea were minimal.

Although it was sad for him to have to spend the rest of his days in a concrete tank, I felt slightly better that the project were (seemingly) giving him the care that he required.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

The deformed sea turtle

The last tank made me feel the saddest. A single turtle swam back and forth; he was a rare Albino turtle. I asked when he would go back to sea.

“He will stay here,” she replied, explaining that he is too precious to go back to sea and is safer at the project.

I turned to James, “So his reward for being a rare breed is having to live in a tank his whole life?”

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

I covered the whole experience on my Instagram story

The hatchery

At the back of the establishment was the hatchery, an area which is securely fenced off. The eggs are buried here until they hatch. Signs are put up by each ‘nest’ to advise the species of the turtles.

I asked how the eggs get to the hatchery.

The guide explained to us that local fishermen collect the eggs and sell them to the establishment. If the eggs are left on the beaches, they after often eaten by predators or taken by poachers, who sell them on the black market. The hatchery pays the fisherman a higher amount (I’m not sure how much) for the eggs than what they could get elsewhere, which encourages them to keep bringing the eggs to the hatchery. I assume this is where the 1000 rupee entrance fee goes.

One of the other things you can do at turtle hatcheries in Sri Lanka is release the baby turtles into the sea at sunset. There’s an additional charge for this. However, once we had seen this place, I didn’t want to give any more money to an establishment that I felt was exploiting rare animals for profit.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

The hatchery: eggs buried in the sand


Are these places really helping?

Since visiting the hatchery, I’ve done a lot of research about turtle hatcheries.

The first thing I found is that each one of these “conservation projects” seems to operate in a similar way: buying eggs from local fishermen, keeping some of the turtles in their tanks for “education,” allowing you to hold the turtles and “set the babies free”.

The only place that seems to operate differently is the first place I mentioned in this post, which allows you to watch the adult turtles return to the sea; the eggs on this beach are left alone. But as I mentioned earlier, the fact that this place allows 70+ spectators on the beach at once deterred me from going.

The second thing I discovered is that sea turtle hatcheries may not actually be helping the conservation of these animals at all.

As a matter of fact, hold­ing them in tanks is just about the most devastat­ing experience the turtles could ever encounter! Source

Naturally, hatchlings return to the sea within the first 48 hours of their life and build up their strength in the waves and to swim away from predators. On the contrary, in the tanks, they don’t have to fight the tide or any predators, so it’s believed that they don’t build up the necessary strength they need in the first few days of their life, which in turn makes them weaker when they finally do return to the sea.

By moving the eggs from the beach to the hatchery, their temperature is upset, which plays a huge part in the gender of the hatchling. The eggs must be kept at exactly 29 degrees C to ensure a 50:50 ratio of males to females.

According to the Sri Lanka Ecotourism website, the process of ‘imprinting’ is disturbed when babies are transferred to the tanks. This is the process in which the turtle speeds across the sand towards the ocean and subsequently swims for 48 hours straight without eating, all whilst registering the path he has taken (they never return to the same shore, except to breed).

By moving the eggs and releasing them by hand, the predators become more aware of the time and place to expect the baby turtles to be released. This means they are in fact more susceptible to these dangers.

Entrusting locals to collect the eggs means that necessary training on how to carefully collect them is avoided.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.comSea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

 


Why I regret visiting a Sea Turtle hatchery in Sri Lanka

Whilst I agree that establishments need to be in place to conserve endangered species, I believe they must operate in the right way.

I agreed that the establishment was seemingly giving the appropriate care to the deformed turtle, who wouldn’t survive at sea. I also agreed that the establishment was discouraging the sale of sea turtle eggs on the black market.

However, I didn’t feel that this place had the turtles’ wellbeing in its best interests.

I can’t condone an organisation that exploits these animals and keeps them locked in concrete tanks for three years (hopefully no longer) just for “education”. It just doesn’t seem fair to me.

I also didn’t agree that the albino turtle was confined to his tank for the rest of his life, simply because he was a rare breed.

And I did not like that our guide encouraged us to lift the turtles out of the water and take photos with them. These are living, breathing beings, not tourist attractions. Surely someone who is supposedly conserving these animals shouldn’t encourage tourists to hold them and pose for photos with them?

I felt like the organisation was trying to make money off us and that the animals were an exhibit, a spectacle for visitors to enjoy. And putting the turtles’ wellbeing at risk for the sake of tourism is not something I support.

Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka - spinthewindrose.com

If you, like me, have compassion for these endangered species, please don’t visit a sea turtle hatchery in Sri Lanka.

Thanks for reading and happy (responsible!) travels,

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something from the linked site, I’ll earn a tiny (and I mean tiny!) commission at no extra cost to you, which contributes to running this blog.

The turtle hatchery we visited is called Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project, located at 13A Galle Road, Mahapalana, Kosgoda, and the first project I mentioned but didn’t go to was Rekawa Turtle Watch, Rekawa Road, Rekawa.


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42 responses to “Visiting a Sea Turtle Hatchery, Sri Lanka: Why I regret visiting”

  1. Carrie says:

    thank you so much for sharing your experience. I just wrote a post about things to know before you travel to thailand and walked about the horrible elephant and tiger animal tourism there. it just makes me absolutely sick. It’s so good to hear about other travelers out there who are trying to be ethical and responsible with their travels.

    • I think it’s really difficult as many tourists don’t understand these issues and many people still want to see the animals. I’m hoping the more we get the word out about how unethical these places are, the more tourists will stop visiting them!

  2. Sarah says:

    We had a very similar experience in Sri Lanka and it was heart breaking 🙁

  3. Delahaye says:

    Wow, thank’s for highlighting this horrible practice, that not a lot of people talk about that is happening in these tourist places.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience! The more people write about the negative sides to these places, the more likely people will stop going and funding their ’causes’. I am going to share this with other groups so they can beware of this place!

  5. krista says:

    thank you for sharing this! it is heart-breaking what animals in this world go through :/ i experienced something similar in Indonesia! this is very well-written and you have a great voice!

  6. Oh, this breaks my heart. I know exactly how you must have felt while you were there. As much as I love animals, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m just not going to be able to go anywhere or do anything that allows me to interact with them because I can never be 100% sure what I’m supporting isn’t actually causing them harm in some way. Such a shame.

    • I feel the same. I knew I was taking a risk by going there but I truly believed this “conservation project” did exactly that. I think I will avoid anything involving animals in future — particularly when you can see sea turtles in many places in Sri Lanka in their natural habitat!!

  7. It’s so sad that we can’t take these places at face value and that we have to dig a little deeper to find out the real truth. I had a similar experience at a ‘conservation Centre’ in the Peruvian Amazon. We were told that the animals had been found abandoned by the parents in the wild but we suspected otherwise. So heartbreaking to see 🙁

  8. Flo says:

    This is so heartbreaking and these horror stories are exactly why I refuse to go to visit a hatchery in Sri Lanka. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this centre, I had actually emailed them a few weeks back as they claim to be the only hatchery in Sri Lanka that does NOT allow touching! Very disappointing.

  9. C-Ludik says:

    this breaks my heart ! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this centre… I hope the more you get the word out about how unethical these places are, the more tourists will stop visiting them ! And this is also so good to hear about other travelers who are trying to be ethical and responsible with their travels 🙂

  10. This is seriously heartbreaking! I felt uncomfortable reading this. I didn’t realize turtles were a big deal in Sri Lanka. We rode on an elephant in Thailand and I had that same instant-regret as soon as we entered. You’re right about not always getting the full story when visiting Asia…

  11. Nuraini says:

    Had a similar feeling visiting one on a tour in Bali.

    Try the project with Ecoteer in Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. There is a hatchery but it is still on the same beach and the only purpose of moving the eggs is to be able to fence it off and watch them against poachers. The hatchlings are let off to flap their own way to the sea all by themselves when they hatch – even if some get snapped up by baby reef sharks. They also run a photo ID project for grown turtles in the area for non-invasive tracking data – when I was there.

  12. Hm. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I live in Mexico and our most common local variety is the rare Olive Ridley turtle. There are several organizations that operate here to attempt to give the turtles the best chances of survival, but they operate differently—no tanks of “strengthening” and all the eggs are collected by trained volunteers. Most operate entirely off of volunteer labor and donations, in fact. There does seem to be a bit of an exploitive nature to the hatchery you visited, but I can see the good, too. It sounds like they MUST pay for the eggs because they are a valuable commodity in that market, whereas here the eggs are most often endangered because of carelessness and regular beach activity. Therefore, it seems to necessitate some means of income generation to pay for the eggs. The deformed turtle and the albino are likely much safer in captivity, as both situations would make them more of a target in the wild. (I’m not familiar with what all goes with albinism in sea turtles, but it is typically not a mutation that is highly compatible with life.) Especially in a culture in which the turtles and their eggs are traditionally eaten, I see education for tourism and local communities (especially school children) being a very high value and worthwhile goal for the longterm improvement of numbers for the species in that area, don’t you? Also, to counter the point from the ecotourism site about releasing turtles, I know here they are released at sunset not for the photo ops, but because it provides the best chance for survival for the babies. Birds have mostly already nested and night time predators have not yet emerged.

    Anyway, just a few things to think about. I’ve seen my share of shady situations in which animals were exploited strictly for profit, but I don’t get that impression from what you shared of this place.

    • Vrithi Pushkar says:

      I agree with Rachel, I have mixed feeling about this post. I have visited the same sea turtle hatchery you describe in your post. While I have to agree that the hatchery in itself is not very well equipped and that it could be perceived as a tourist money making scheme, like Rachel says the deformed turtle and the albino one will have no chance of survival in the wild. Also when you think about it so many wild animals are in so many zoos around the world, yes they would rather be so much happier and better in the wild, yet we visit zoos. What makes a difference is how well they are taken car of. About paying for the eggs, that is the incentive for the locals to collect the eggs which otherwise may not make it until hatching. I agree with you in many ways too.

      • As I explained in my post, I understand the reasons for keeping those turtles in the tanks. I don’t visit zoos. I don’t believe animals should be kept in captivity. I do support animal sanctuaries for animals that have previously been hurt etc, and I support the conservation of endangered species, but here, perfectly healthy turtles are kept in tanks for people to come and look at. Agreed about the eggs, this is what I mentioned in the post too, however there are downsides to that as well.

    • I agree that something should be done to help the conservation of these species, but as you can understand, I didn’t enjoy my visit to this hatchery as I felt the animals were exploited for money. I understand the huge impact this money will have particularly in a poor country like Sri Lanka, but I don’t think the wellbeing of the turtles should be compromised. I agree, education is incredibly important, but personally I don’t think that warrants keeping the animals in captivity. It was when I researched the damage that moving the eggs can do that I really felt I didn’t agree with these places. Yes I also understand the reasons for releasing the turtles at sunset. If you read the linked article on the Sri Lanka ecotourism website, it explains that predators in fact become aware of when and where the turtles are being released, which increases the dangers for the turtles.
      I think this place is trying to do the right thing here, but still has some work to do.

  13. This sounds very sad. I have the same feeling even if I go to a zoo. Thanks for sharing your stories so others know!

  14. Rhiannon says:

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s so heartbreaking to see animals not being taken care of in the way that they should. I’m glad you’ve shared your experience in a way that will hopefully deter people from supporting these places in the future!

  15. Yikes! I totally appreciate your honesty in this post. Like you, I usually avoid animal tourism when I travel — I don’t even enjoy zoos. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Mayochup says:

    This place is only open to exploit rare breeds for money and con you to think they are doing something for nature. If they were left alone they would do much better like they have for (probably) millions of years.

  17. This was a great post to read, Abbi! I didn’t know many of these things!

  18. Emma Brindle says:

    Hi Abbi,. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I’m off to Sri Lanka in January and was keen to see some turtles but after what you’ve said I definitely won’t be visiting any of these so called ‘conservation’ establishments. Maybe I will be lucky enough to see one when I snorkel at the beach!

  19. See Outside says:

    This has been super useful! We are going to Sri Lanka in November and we’re concerned about places like this! Hopefully we’ll get to see some of these beautiful creatures in the ocean!

  20. Thank you for this – I am visiting Sri Lanka in a few weeks and it’s always been my dream to see baby sea turtles but I don’t think I would want to see them like this. Is it true that you see sea turtles just swimming in the ocean in Sri Lanka anyway? We are staying at Unawatuna. Thanks

  21. Cathy says:

    II arrived in Galle yesterday evening with the intention of visiting a hatchery today. But I wanted to understand their role before I did so. I came across your post as I was investigating. THANK YOU! I will not be visiting today.

  22. Tanis Yin says:

    Where is it possible to see turtles in Sri Lanka then? I was hoping to do a documentary about what countries are doing in order to help the turtles but I don’t want to support and cruel organization.
    Thank You

  23. Charlotte says:

    I am so glad that I have just read this. I am going to Sri Lanka this year and a turtle hatchery was one of the things I really wanted to do. I refuse to go after reading this. I love animals and I would much rather see them in their natural environment than see them trapped in tanks just for exploitation and money making. I wish more people would research things properly and start to end animals being abused and ill-treated just so tourists can have their picture taken with them.

  24. Mishelle says:

    Thank you for this improtant information. Next week I´ll travel to Sri Lanka so I want to visit this turtle hatchery but after this news I don´t want it anymore.

    Mishelle // voyagecompass.com

  25. Sara says:

    Dear Abbi, reading your article almost broke my heart. Thank you for pointing out on such an immensly important topic and raising awareness for responsible travel. This is so so important. I‘m in Sri Lanka right now and we are staying at a hotel close to Tangalle Beach-also close to several „Turtle Hatcheries“ you mentioned above. When we arrived yesterday the owner told us that we are „very lucky“ because they „found“ a turtle nest on the beach yesterday with turtles already hached and were about to release them into the ocean during sundown. What I first thought was a great deed turned out to be a terrible tourist attraction. First the tiny turtles were kept in a tank all day, swimming like crazy, trying to escape. 5 or 6 already had died, probably because of exhaustion. In the evening they brought the tank to the beach and instead of realeasing them all together right away, every Hotel guest was given one of the babies to pose for pictures etc. Because the little ones seemed to be very exhausted they didn’t start moving right away so the ‚helpful‘ tourist kept on pushing them towards the sea, some of them even throwing them into the waves. It was so horrible to watch, I needed to walk off after 1 minute. It’s so disgusting to see how animals are treated in order to entertain. And the pity is, that these great other travelers felt like they did something really great afterwards, like they were heroes, because they had „released“ them into the sea. I doubt that many of the little ones survived this torture when finally arriving in their natural habitat. It’s so important to not support such behavior! I cannot understand why tourists shut of their brains in this kind of situation. It’s so sad.

  26. Jean Arnott says:

    Hi Abbi, I came across your blog post through looking for reviews on the hatchery that I was planning a visit to at the end of the year. I am so grateful that I did. This has definitely made me more careful and selective in choosing organisations to help out at, those with the animal’s best interests at heart of course. I have already done extensive research into various programs globally but have so far been unsuccessful. If you know of any animal volunteering organisations, where I could offer my services I would really appreciate some support! Thank you for sharing this!

  27. Penny says:

    Thanks for the info,encouraged me to dig a little deeper.Cant find any research to support the turtle hatcheries,such a shame as a bit of expertise could make these places a valuable conservation project.Sadly,a good idea that is not evidenced based.

  28. Nelson Santos says:

    Great article, even though it was a bad experience you brought to our attention so at least some good comes out of it and make others aware. Your post was shared in our group https://www.facebook.com/groups/164276133761136/ where we discuss topics in the volunteering specturm

  29. Jasmine says:

    Yes its sad but what did you expect from a third world country… they are trying their best and its a step in the right direction they cant just build an entire aquarium when they are living in huts or 15 family members under the one roof….they also finished their civil war in 2009! Education and funding can help not just ripping on the areas where they are trying.

  30. Gabs says:

    ‘Hello, interesting read. I myself was thinking about volunteering at a turtle hatchery in Sri Lanka. I’m sure there are a lot of unserious and cruel set ups out there, but I can’t help but hope that there are some legit, international organisations out there that manage to steer away from the exploitation of these animals, and who meet a certain “global standard”. Or at least the hatcheries in more developed countries should meet ethical requirements?
    I would love to know exactly which hatchery you visited, and whom you booked it with. I myself have been looking at “the great projects” and superficially they seem like they are alright…
    I’m also conflicted about what could be the purpose of the whole sea turtle conservation project, if not to increase the number of sea turtles which survive to reproduce. Would it not be good then to let at least the younglings spend a few days gaining strength–if that irrefutably meant their odds of survival in the early stage were to increase? In that case is it not hence in some way good that fishermen collect and sell the eggs to the hatcheries, if the hatched turtles then have improved odds at survival? According to this line of logic the only way the conservation aspect falters is if the turtles are mistreated.
    But I do not know enough yet about the details of sea turtle conservation, my research is just getting started… I invite anyone with more information or experience–or just someone who has thoughts to share–to leave a reply!

    • shane says:

      I found this book quite informative.

      http://www.seaturtle.org/documents/hatchery_manual.pdf

      The article was a good read and raised some very interesting points, however my family and I visited the same hatchery and our experience was quite different. We don’t visit zoos, take pics with drugged up tigers and we want to see animals in their natural habitat too, like it was intended. However, when there are predatory or natural occurrences that threaten the survival of a species, you can’t just do nothing. Doing the next best thing is better than nothing.

      We spent quite a bit of time at this place and got to know the people behind the place and I think it’s important to get a full picture. First thing, this hatchery actually survives on a shoe string budget. We weren’t asked to pay an entrance fee, just a donation please. During our time there, many people walked in and out but didn’t donate anything into the donation box near the entrance. We paid 500 rupees around $10 aud. The lady and her family are mainly supported by donations and her husband’s tuk tuk driving.

      I remember there was one turtle in a tank that was missing it’s arm after a boating accident. He needed multiple injections per day which was going to cost something like 3000 rupees each time. We asked her why she started this hatchery in the first place when it was costing so much and she started to cry. She said it was because of her daughter, who also had a disability with her arm and said if I don’t take care of them who will? We met her daughter and sure enough, she did have a disability. I believe we are far from gullible, but only the lady’s knows her real intension.

      Keep in mind this is a third world country and (it’s a general statement) but the majority of people do not look at animals in the same regard as we do in western culture. As one example, we came across a baby elephant held in chains by a buddhist temple. They were going to use him for certain celebrations. We and other animal rights groups had appealed to the temple for the release of the baby but it fell on deaf ears. So, in Sri Lanka having someone actively trying to take care of animals is a good positive start.

      And true it probably doesn’t meet the proper or ideal standards, and the facilities and processes aren’t up to scratch, (I don’t know what is, I’m not an expert) but what’s the alternative? Leave them for the poachers?

  31. Wrenno says:

    Thank you for this article. I agree with the points made by the previous post that something is better than nothing and that this place is hopefully doing their best for the most honourable reasons, – in fact I almost changed my mind (after initially agreeing with you). However, having read this article: https://www.tourismconcern.org.uk/campaign/visit-sea-turtle-conservation-facility/ which supports what you say (eg about handling sea turtles), have decided that this is probably not a place I want to support or visit with my children.

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