Sri Lanka politics and commentary

UN- බලු පැනල් එක පිලිබද ලිපි

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Turtle hatcheries of Sri Lanka

Just like another "Modern industry" turtle hatcheries are an utter abuse of nature.

News item

This is a good video documentary; show the magnificent grace of the sea turtle, shows two sides of the story and the video flows smoothly. But the documentary suffers from lack of scientific explanations. The reporter could have easily made a few phone calls and found out about other journalists, or scientists with knowledge on this subject, and there are plenty in Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately the video also contains unscientific urban myths, this again as a result of lack of scientific consultation.

Digging up turtle eggs from their deep nests and covering them in sand mounds (visible in the video) affect the sex determination of the hatchlings.
The story of earths water level rising 3 inches per 8000 years is a lie he just made up for his advantage, it’s an urban myth. No scientific journal reported such a thing.

Hatchlings have the most energy immediately after they hatch, most of the energy from the egg yolk is still present in their body, and they don’t feed for about a week. Instead they use the energy to swim away from shallow coastal waters to deeper safer waters. After a week or so they don’t have the energy to swim, when they are released to the sea they will either get washed ashore and desiccate and die or become easy prey for crows, sea birds or fish.
None of the hatchlings released after a week can survive, this story of hatchlings navel being open is “hocus pocus”, it’s an urban myth there is no scientific truth behind it.

The only thing the hatcheries have done for the past decade or so is saving the eggs from being eaten , but trapping the hatchlings ashore for some time and releasing them for a certain death.
In other words hatcheries have just delayed the death of a hatching from egg stage to hatchling stage.
It is true that these people need to make a living, if hatcheries are banned they will just sell the eggs in the black market for food.
Here is a easy plan, just let the turtles hatch in their natural nests, put a net over the nest s so other predators cannot dig it, and take a few nests and bury them in the hatchery, and keep a few hatchlings also for the tourists attraction, just don’t kill the duck laying the golden eggs. May be the minister also can help, by promoting the hatcheries as tourists destinations, so the hatchery owners get a better income.


  1. Let wild be in wild. This should be handled by a university in Sri Lanka. This chena boy is doing harm for turtles. He is making biased justification to protect his business.

    Handling wild turtles should be made illegal.

    Government has been in deep sleep on if for decades. I appreciate Minister's effort on this. This is how you build a good Sri Lanka.

  2. Regarding your plan:
    Hatcheries should never be done private. They should be done by educational or research institutions with organized plans to get tourists as well as school children. Your plan has to get approval from appropriate scientific community to make sure it is the best one for turtles. Average blogger may not be able to provide input on this one unless that person has done extensive research on Turtles.

    Here is a random idea from an average blogger: Shoot to kill those who dig wild turtle eggs.

    It is good if people can find out how they protect elephants in Africa. Come to think of it, I was listening to an interview by a wildlife officer in Kenya. He was a big shot banker and when he was hired, he asked why you hired me since I know nothing about managing wildlife.

    He was told "Don't worry about managing wildlife, they know how to manage themselves, we hired you to manage people".

  3. I ask government to find good none political candidates and send abroad for the higher education on how to manage wildlife. Here is something came out of a quick search.

    Management of Turtle Bycatch: Can Endangered Species Be Protected while Minimizing Socioeconomic Impacts?

    Here is an organization to get some help: