WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
You will be based at a new exciting and expanding sea turtle conservation and protection centre in Sri Lanka. Marine wildlife faces many challenges, one of the biggest being the unregulated use of marine habitats, which threatens many species, including five species of sea turtle, all highly endangered, that nest along the coastline of Sri Lanka. Having suffered massive overexploitation for eggs, meat and shells, the threats to these beautiful creatures can be attributed to a variety of sources; the extensive development of tourism, the unsustainable harvesting of turtle feeding grounds and the polluting and bleaching of the coral reefs, however the continued exploitation of both turtle meat and eggs throughout the country remains the single biggest threat: surveys have revealed that egg collection rates have been unsustainably high for at least the last 30 years.
Despite Sri Lanka being the first country in the world to instigate and establish a wildlife sanctuary, the turtle population has suffered a massive decline that has threatened its existence altogether. As a volunteer you will be working with teams protecting critical nesting sites.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Your first week is designed to give you an opportunity to explore the history and culture of Sri Lanka, and of course Kandy, with visits to local sites of special interest such as nearby markets, sample the local cuisine, familiarise yourself with Sri Lankan customs and meet the local people, as well as hopefully learning some key phrases to help you get by. Following this wonderful opportunity to fully immerse yourself in your new surroundings, your briefings for the volunteer work will begin along with language classes and cooking lessons throughout the week.
Your day to day duties will be dependent upon the current focus of the project at the time of your visit but could typically involve turtle egg collection, scientific monitoring and recording, working within the hatchery, feeding and cleaning duties, releasing turtles back into the sea and educating visitors about the project. You could also get the opportunity to learn about marine flora and take part in organised beach clean-ups. Your days will be long but certainly rewarding, working 6am until 5pm, Monday to Friday.