Jetwing Yala welcomed its first batch of turtle nests for the season early last week. Keeping with the long-standing conservation efforts at the hotel, two nests at Jetwing Yala’s beachfront were protected in-situ to prevent disturbance by feral animals. A third nest, partially disturbed, was discovered further along the beach and was relocated to a fenced turtle nest conservation area maintained at the hotel in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife.
Last year, over 11 such nests were conserved by the associates at Jetwing Yala, providing over a thousand hatchlings with much-needed protection during their vulnerable first hours of life. The safety afforded at Jetwing ensures that the cycle of nesting continues along the beaches of Yala, as turtles are known to return to their beach of hatching year after year. The efforts of the hotel were recognized by the Department of Wildlife which, in 2019, decided to construct a turtle egg conservatory adjoining the hotel premises where eggs can be protected from unscrupulous poachers and feral animals.
Turtles are ancient reptiles, their ancestors appearing in the fossil record 250 million years ago and outlasting the age of the dinosaurs. The beaches of Sri Lanka are home to five of the seven extant species of sea turtles, including the largest living turtle on Earth – the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). All seven species are considered threatened globally, their populations plummeting as a result of poaching for both eggs and meat, disturbance of nesting beaches, being caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries, and changes to global climatic conditions which affect their nesting habits. Family owned and in the tourism industry for the past 47 years, Jetwing Hotels has surpassed expectation at every aspect.