Alden Boon

Inside One of Sri Lanka’s Many Sea Turtle Conservation Centres

15/08/2018

In Sri Lanka, there are many identikit conservation centres for sea turtles, which were handed over to the operators by fishermen. At some point, the sea turtles had been injured by boat propellers, nylon fishing nets or even the sharp teeth of sharks. The operators aid their recovery journeys by immersing them in shallow waters, then slowly increasing the water level; during their time at the conservation centres, the turtles relearn swimming, feeding and surfacing with their injuries. Once nursed back to health, they are released back to the sea.

There are different species of turtles taking up residence at a typical conservatory. The green turtle, for example, is hunted for its layer of green blubber for soup making, though this practice has been outlawed in Sri Lanka. Its heart beating slowly, a green turtle can live for over a century, growing to its full length of one and a half metres during this time. Its neighbour is the hawksbill turtle, feisty and ever ready to bite. It is characterised by its sharp, curving beak, and an amber-hued carapace with light and dark streaks. Interestingly, their flesh stores toxins from shellfish and sea sponges, and Sri Lankans have died from eating it.

The T-Rex in the conservation centre, the leatherback turtle is gargantuan, its maximum weight reaching to over nine hundred kilograms. It consumes up to twice its body weight every day, feeding on the likes of jellyfish and tunicates. Its carapace, unlike its counterparts’, is not lined with scutes; instead it is a smooth leathery skin with osteoderms. It is classified as an endangered species in the United States.

Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory
Colombo Sri Lanka Sea Turtle Conservatory

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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