Bali is a unique and exotic place for a holiday, with many things to be found there that are different from other places in Indonesia or Asia. Once you’ve found your villa accommodation and settled in you won’t be able to wait to get out and about to see the temples, monkeys, theme parks and beaches in the area. But not many people realise they can adopt a turtle in Bali. How?
It is a relatively new idea, since turtles have been harvested as a food for centuries on this island. The trouble is that, as in many other cases, turtles have many other predators, both in the sea and on the beach, just after they hatch. So even though many eggs may be laid, not nearly as many turtles live to grow up and lay more. Thus, the turtle population began to dwindle until there were not that many left.
When turtles and their eggs are also harvested as food for humans the odds against them increase. In fact, they have been used in temple sacrifices and their eggs have been collected to eat and sell. The shell is used to make trinkets and jewellery. All this, in addition to the declining space for eggs on the beaches due to tourist activities has all contributed to the decrease in the turtle population.
You can see turtles at the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre at Paulo Serangan, opened in 2006 by the Bali president. The official address is Jalan Tukad Wisata No 4 Serangan.
This is a relatively small area that provides a protected space for collected turtle eggs to be buried in the sand so they can hatch out without being trampled on and the tiny turtles can get safely into the sea before being gobbled up by birds. There are special turtle tanks inside where injured turtles can stay to recover before going back to the sea.
The centre also helps to prevent illegal turtle trading by educating people about the declining numbers and how the turtle needs to be taken off their menu. It is run by friendly, local and international volunteers who are happy to show and tell you all about turtles.
It is free to go in, but donations are welcome and indeed, every little bit helps to protect the green turtle so it does not face extinction. You can adopt a turtle if there are any baby ones available. It might also be possible to adopt an older turtle that is recovering from an injury.
There are other turtle farms that are not part of the conservation programme. These are more about making money than protecting the turtle, so be sure you visit the right one.