Sea turtle project​

Welcome to our fulfilling turtle volunteering project! Dive into an extraordinary opportunity to protect and conserve these majestic creatures.

Join our dedicated team of volunteers as we work tirelessly to safeguard turtle nesting grounds, conduct vital research, and promote environmental awareness. Get hands-on experience in monitoring nests, assisting with hatching, and ensuring the safe migration of baby turtles to the sea. With breathtaking coastal landscapes as your backdrop, you’ll make a tangible difference in the survival of these incredible species. Embark on an unforgettable journey, connect with nature, and become a vital guardian of our oceans. Join us today and be part of the vital efforts to preserve our precious sea turtles.


the Project

Sea turtles have been living on earth for over 100 million years and 6 of the 7 species are now officially endangered. They are constantly fighting for their survival so our work at the Nil Manel Foundation is vital to ensure that these beautiful and vulnerable creatures are protected for a very long time. In Sri Lanka, we see 5 of the 7 main species of sea turtles; including Hawksbill Turtles, Green Turtles, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead and the very rare Leatherback Turtles. The most common species of sea turtle in the South West of Sri Lanka is the Green Turtle.

1 in a million sea turtles are albino and in Sri Lanka, there are less than 15 albino turtles living at any time – at Nil Manel Foundation we currently have 3 Albino turtles after the new additions on 5th October 2018!​

Life Cycle of Sea Turtles:

The nesting process consists of several stages. The female turtle will emerge from the sea at night and travel up the beach, searching for a suitable nesting site. Once at the chosen nesting site, she begins to dig a body pit by using all four flippers. She removes the dry surface sand beneath her, which will later be used to cover the egg chamber. Once she has created a body pit, she begins to dig an egg chamber using her rear flippers, alternating between the right and left flipper to scoop out the damp sand. The hole for the eggs is normally half a metre deep and a female turtle will normally lay 100-150 eggs at once.

​After taking to the water for the first time, male turtles will not return to shore again and during the first three to five years of life, sea turtles spend most of their time in the pelagic zone floating in seaweed beds. Green turtles, in particular, are often found in Sargassum beds, a brown seaweed in which they find shelter and food. Once the sea turtle has reached adulthood it moves closer to the shore. Females will come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the nesting season.​​


Sea Turtles face many threats on a daily basis; some are natural threats such as shark attacks but others are caused by humans. Turtles eggs are often taken from shore to be sold or eaten and, once born, turtles are often taken to be sold for their shells. However, the most common and most severe injuries that we see are from fishing nets and plastic waste left in the ocean and mistaken for jelly fish.

Many of the turtles we rescue have been injured by boats, been affected by pollution, caught up in plastic rubbish, ingested some sort of plastic item, entangled themselves in a fishing net or been attacked by predators such as sharks. 

Our Work:

Our sea turtle hatchery is in beautiful Sri Lanka, situated about 2 hours drive south of Colombo. Together with our turtle breeding program, we rescue, treat and care for injured and sick turtles. Currently, we have 28 injured turtles in our care, mainly the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley and the loggerhead sea turtle. We are hoping that with a bit of love and care we will be able to return most of them back to the ocean within a month. 

As part of our volunteer program, you will help to care for the turtles by administering medicines, caring for wounds, checking their daily progress, assist with feeding, cleaning the hatchery, watering, checking water temperatures in the pool and cleaning the beaches. Every fortnight we weigh and measure the turtles and report on their progress and collect data. ​If you are lucky enough to be here during hatching season, then you get to witness these little beauties head towards the ocean. 

If you want to be a part of this amazing and rewarding program, please contact us at the Nil Manel Foundation.

Forest Tours


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