Sea Turtle Hatcheries in Sri Lanka – Research Paper
Tourists get to interact with sea turtles at hatcheries in Sri Lanka. But do these benefit the turtles? Research paper from 2013.
Hatcheries can be used as an ex situ conservation tool, however their contribution to the effective management of sea turtles is highly debated. A questionnaire survey was used to assess the activities of the seven hatcheries currently in operation in Sri Lanka. All the hatcheries were operated by private owners, and the primary motive was profit from ecotourism. During the 1990’s, hatcheries only operated during the tourist season, but recently remained open throughout the year. It was a common practice to buy sea turtle eggs from egg collectors at a rate of about 8-15 LKR (< 0.15 USD) each and bury them in an incubation enclosure within the hatchery. “Headstarting” occurred at all hatcheries. Most of the rearing tanks were regularly cleaned, but crowded during the turtle nesting season. Juvenile and sub-adult turtles that had been kept for display were often released to the sea when feeding became costly. None of the hatcheries were involved in any collaborative research or provided visitor education contributing to sea turtle conservation; operations were an attraction for tourists and provided financial income for the local community.
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