At a glance
- Help with the protection and survival of endangered sea turtles at Galbokka Beach, Sri Lanka.
- Take part in an unforgettable hands-on experience, participating in a nighttime sea turtle patrol.
- Work with Green, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead & Hawksbill Sea Turtles
- Live and work with fellow volunteers, all passionate about marine conservation
16 or over
Is Sea Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka right for me?
This project is perfect if you are passionate about nature, the environment, and the ocean. You’ll get the chance to work outdoors, protecting sea turtles and helping with important conservation.
It’s also great if you’re interested in pursuing a career in marine conservation. You’ll gain fantastic hands-on experience.
You’ll spend your volunteering trip with passionate conservation staff, who actively protect and help the local environment through different types of programmes. The best part? You get to tap into their knowledge and experience, using it to learn more about different types of conservation initiatives in Sri Lanka.
You don’t need experience for this project. A willingness to help, learn and explore is all we ask of you! On the first day our centre supervisor will guide you through the whole process and throughout your time at the project our staff will be there to help you.
The project is available all year round, so you can choose the perfect time to travel, fitting your schedule.
So why not travel to a beautiful part of the world this year, make new friends, learn about sea turtles and help protect our oceans?
What kind of work will I do in Sri Lanka?
You’ll pack in a huge number of activities during your stay in Sri Lanka. Expect to do all of the following:
- Work with turtle eggs and hatchlings
- Take part in beach conservation and night patrols
- Run community awareness and education programmes
Here is a breakdown of the work you will do:
Work with turtle hatchlings
Your main role will be to help with the protection of turtle hatchlings. You’ll do all of the following:
- Help bury the sea turtle eggs in a safe, dedicated area to rescue them from poachers.
- Conduct daily checks on the eggs to check their hatching time and help the emerging baby turtles.
- Wash the sea turtle tanks and refill them with seawater.
- Prepare food to feed the turtles.
- Take care of cleaning, feeding and helping turtle hatchlings.
- Hand feed any injured turtles.
We work with a variety of species in Sri Lanka, including Green, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead & Hawksbill Sea Turtles.
Beach Conservation and night patrols
You’ll patrol the beach during the day to look for any pieces of fishing nets, which cause a large number of deaths in sea turtles.
However, it’s at night where the real fun begins! You’ll take part in an unforgettable hands-on experience - joining a sea turtle patrol. On this tour you will go for a night time walk on the beach of Galbokka to look for endangered sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs.
It’s crucial to get to the eggs during the night, before poachers and predators. That way, we can ensure their survival.
Community awareness and education
A big part of the work we do involves educational work in the local community. This is very important, because everyone has to play their part if we’re going to preserve the local ecosystem.
You’ll work together with our local experts to make creative presentations for people of all ages. This will cover why coastal conservation is so important and why we need to secure turtle eggs from poachers.
Where in Sri Lanka will I work?
You’ll be based in Ahungalla – Balapitiya, in the southern province of Sri Lanka. You’ll work at a conservation centre in Galbokka bay which is 10 minutes away from your host family by car.
Balapitiya is known for its beautiful calm beaches and artistic style. There are plenty of outdoor activities and stunning beaches to discover.
A typical day on the Conservation Project in Sri Lanka
You’ll wake up in the home of your host family and enjoy a delicious Sri Lankan style breakfast which will fuel you for the day ahead. We’ll then pick you up and take you to the nearby conservation centre.
Each day is different on the project, with the work changing depending on the season. However, your supervisor will design a schedule each week to make the most of your time.
A typical day will start early, with volunteers and staff gathering at the centre to agree on the plan for the day.
You might start your morning with a beach patrol. You’ll walk together across the sandy local beaches, collecting any litter that could be dangerous for animals.
After lunch at the centre, you’ll spend time tending to the turtle hatchlings. This could include cleaning out their tanks or even feeding them.
You may also need to rest up ahead of a nighttime beach patrol. Here you’ll all go together, looking for nests of newly-laid turtle eggs. You’ll transport them safely back to the centre, where you can prepare them for eventual release back into the ocean.
Once you’re done for the day, you’re free to relax and explore. We run regular social events for our volunteers, which is a wonderful way to make new friends and get to know the local staff. You can find out more about the local way of life, spending the evening with your host family. Try out the nearby restaurants, spend some time on the beach, or check out the tourist sites and local landmarks.
What is the goal of Marine Conservation work in Sri Lanka?
The main goal of this project is to ensure the protection and survival of endangered sea turtles and preserve the local ecosystem.
All species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered in Sri Lanka. We aim to provide data and insights that help with the protection of these incredible creatures.
Here’s just one example of why this work is crucial: different populations of Green turtles around the world are likely to have different migratory paths. If Green turtles in one geographic area go extinct, it may be impossible to replace them with turtles from another area. This is because the new arrivals will lack the inherited instructions needed to navigate within and from their new homes.
The work you do - such as protecting the sea turtle eggs and helping the emerging baby turtles - contributes directly to preventing these problems.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Food and accommodation
You'll stay with a host family in Sri Lanka. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Sri Lanka and have a truly unique experience.
We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.
Your programme fee includes three meals a day.
Find out more about our accommodation.
Leisure activities and free time
Sri Lanka is well-known for its diverse landscapes. From beaches to tropical jungles, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant country.
The buzzing Pettah Market is a must-see. You can chat to friendly vendors, buy handmade products, and enjoy the electric atmosphere around you. For cultural enrichment, you can spend an afternoon in the National Museum of Colombo. The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is also a highlight, with its vast collection of artefacts.
The town of Galle is a sea port with a strong Dutch heritage and plenty of old colonial buildings to explore. You can also venture inland to hike in the hills, swim in the cool waterfalls, and visit traditional hill towns.
Sri Lanka's national parks include safari parks where you can spot wildlife like leopards and elephants. Or spend an early morning bird-watching in one of the wetland sanctuaries. There are also rainforest reserves crammed full of tropical biodiversity.
You’ll be sharing this unique experience with many other volunteers. This means you can travel solo or spend your free time with the friends you make during your trip.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
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