Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery – A boring post about an interesting place!

March 6, 2010 | By Rakhitha | Filed in: Environment, Sri Lanka.

Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery is a pioneering sea turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka. And it is a great place to visit if you have few hours to kill. Obviously it’s located at Kosgoda :P. Fortunately, thanks to double public holidays falling on a weekend, I got a full weekend to rest after a long time on 27th and 28th February. Best part is, no MSc classes. 1st of March was also a holiday at my workplace. So we decided to go on a trip. Thanks to a slight miscalculation in 4th dimension (time), we had few extra hours to kill and we ended up visiting this place. I am not that much of an animal lover, but I thought it’s fun to write something about this place. I mean writing, I cannot guarantee that reading this post is fun. You are advised to read at your own risk.

This post mainly cover what I thought interesting about the place. It is not a comprehensive article of this place or what they are doing. And I know nothing about sea turtles other than they are endangered.  So some of my facts might be bit off. If you like to find more information about Kosgoda hatchery, please visit their website www.kosgodaseaturtle.org. I have also shared some photos that I took in my Facebook photo album. Anyone know a better place I can use to create small albums like that? I tried flicker but their 100Mb limit is not going to take me that far. I also don’t want to waste my WordPress free space quota for images.

If you are traveling from Colombo, you have to pass Bentota town and travel few kilometers down the Galle Road to reach it. Then you will miss the place, because their name board is covered by a tree branch. You can’t see it if you are traveling south. But once you go passing it for some distance, you will realize that you have obviously missed the place and turn back. On the way back north, the board is clearly visible and you will enter the place thinking why don’t they cut that tree branch.

Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery is a part of a larger project called “Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project“. These guys in hatchery basically buy sea turtle eggs from local sellers and incubate them. Once the eggs hatch, baby sea turtles are released back to sea. Well, not exactly. They keep few in their tanks for people like us to see. Because one of their project goals is to increase awareness of sea turtles among people. Hopefully that will make some of us love these animals for what they are than what they taste like :).

Based on what I understood, following is how the hatchery run. First mama sea turtles come to shore and lay their eggs in a hole digged in the sand. That part has not changed for millions of years. Then comes people who collect the eggs. Some of those collected eggs ends up in someones dinner table, while some are purchased by sea turtle hatcheries like this one. Buying eggs will cost these guys about  LKR 10/= per each. Most of that money comes from fund-raising events, grants and donations. If you are visiting the hatchery, there is a donation box. Don’t forget to put  some money  in there. Remember, 100 rupees means 10 sea turtles are not going to dinner table.

Once eggs are purchased, they are buried under sand within the parameters of hatchery. And they are guarded day and night to prevent theft. They look like small tanks filled with sand. And at every place where eggs are buried, there is a small board indicating the species of the eggs, number of eggs and the date on which the eggs are expected to hatch. It looks bit like the minefield in Van Damme movie Double Team.

After the incubation period, eggs hatch and baby sea turtles come out. It is interesting to see that different species has different personalities. Baby sea turtles of some species are always busy. They are always swimming around and never stop. Some are just plain boring :S. Once they hatch, Kosgoda hatchery keep few to show the visitors and release the rest to ocean within 24 hours from they are born. That is fun to watch. Luckily for us, where was a batch of eggs hatched previous night. Guys that run the hatchery were planing to release some of them back to sea at the evening. But that is another post.

I am dedicating the rest of this post for few interesting fellows we met at the hatchery. These guys are living at the hatchery on permanent basis. And some of they have quite interesting personalities. In the following pictures, the guy at the left is a Green Turtle (if I remember right) even though it does not look green to me. This one really likes attention. Whenever there are people at the edge of the tank, it will come up and do all the sorts of actions. If you like to take photographs, this is what you are looking for. He also likes to bite fingers. This snap was taken while it is reaching mine.  The sea turtle in the second image of this post with weird-looking face is the same guy. Most of the other sea turtles in this place are not that interactive. But they don’t mind if you give them a scratch on their back.

In right hand side image of following, is Stevie and his girl friend. If I remember right Stevie is 7 years old. And his gf is 3. Kosgoda hatchery was a much bigger place before the Tsunami destroyed it in 2004. According to a staff member, Stevie is the only one who survived Tsunami. He has lost vision of its both eyes in the Tsunami.

Well that’s all I got. Hope you enjoyed it. May be not. I am trying to write two posts per week, but that’s not going to happen this week. May be I’ll catch up with it next week. May be it’s a good thing that I don’t have time to write more boring stuff like this one.

I finally finished the other post about releasing newborn sea turtles back to sea. If you enjoyed this post, probably you will like that one also. Here is the link.


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5 comments on “Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery – A boring post about an interesting place!

  1. Sajini says:

    The post is so nice. and it is not boring 🙂 hey by the way you are kind of an animal lover…

    By the way didn’t you remember, some visitors who came asked about what is the taste of sea turtles eggs, what is looks like after boil an egg etc…. I guess those people didn’t even know the value of sea turtles… 🙁

    Any way it is glad to have at least few people who care about animals…. 🙂 (like you)

  2. […] I wrote in my earlier post, I had an opportunity to visit Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery recently. It was perfect timing, there was a batch of eggs hatched previous day. Guys that run the […]

  3. […] you happen to visit this hotel, don’t forget to visit Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery. Specially if you are an animal lover. It’s only about 2km further south from the hotel. If […]

  4. Rakhitha says:

    Contact Details of Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery:

    Address: Galle Road, Mahapelena, Kosgoda, Sri Lanka
    Phone No: +94 (0) 91 22 64 567
    Mobile: +94 (0) 77 600 73 02
    E-Mail: Kosgodaseaturtle@hotmail.com
    Website: http://www.kosgodaseaturtle.org

    See the picture : http://rakasuniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/dsc09803.jpg