Dec 17 2010
Turtles in Bali are a sensitive issue. Traditionally some Balinese like to eat them and turtle meat has often been used in religious ceremonies.
Unfortunately, turtle numbers have plummeted around Bali, in part due to hunting but also because their hatcheries are disappearing due to over-development, as Bali continues to cram more and more (willing) tourists onto its beaches, bringing bright lights that frighten would-be nesting mama-turtles away.
Things are improving though. A few years ago, religious authorities declared that substitutes for real turtles (for example, cardboard cutouts) could be used to represent real turtles in religious ceremonies, and the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) was set up on Serangan Island.
The TCEC is used both as a hatchery and a protection centre for injured turtles that fishermen bring in. It is free to visit (though donations are encouraged) and it is a great place for both adults and kids to visit.
The centre has quite limited resources and they’re doing a great job with what they have, so drop by, make a donation and make a turtle’s day.
Large rescued turtles are kept in a vast tiled pool (we went when they were cleaning it, which was fascinating in and of itself…) while smaller baby turtles are kept in smaller segmented pools. Staff are friendly and kids can with their assistance handle the little beasts briefly.
It’s a bit of a trek to get to, but there’s a good surf beach nearby with very basic warungs that you can tie in with a visit.
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