Adopting baby sea turtles and releasing back them to the ocean is definitely a heart-warming moment for all ocean-lovers. We knew that there are several places which are perfect to snorkel with turtles Bali, but right before our trip, we heard about Turtle Conservation Bali non-profit organization where you can adopt turtle and release them into the ocean, so it was not a question that we will visit Turtle Island! Where is The Serangan Turtle Park? How they save turtles? How can you adopt turtle? Get all your questions answered from this post!
- 1 Serangan Turtle Conservation Bali – Nonprofit turtle center
- 2 Saving sea turtles – Rescue, recovery, release
- 3 Turtle Island Serangan – What species to see?
- 4 What can you do to save turtles in Bali?
- 5 Adopt turtle – the cutest thing we’ve done in Bali
Serangan Turtle Conservation Bali – Nonprofit turtle center
Sad fact is that six of the seven sea turtle species are endangered or vulnerable according to the list of threatened species. Serangan Island was the black market center for turtle products in Indonesia for long years. The illegal trade, consuming turtle meat and eggs, using them in religious rituals destroyed the population around Bali. Luckily, a comprehensive strategic project started in order to stop illegal trading. As a part of this project, a non-profit Conservation and Education Center was opened on Serangan Island to help these endangered species. Bali Turtle Center is committed to rescue, research and education. English speaking, knowledgeable staff provides free guided tours, moreover, visitors are welcome to participate in their “adopt turtle donation program” allowing you to release babies into the ocean.
Tip: thanks to conservation efforts adult sea turtles are still present in Bali coastal waters and you have a chance to see them while snorkeling. Read in our Bali snorkel places guide where we swam with turtles in Bali!
How to get to Turtle Conservation Center Bali?
The Sea Turtle Conservation and Education Center is on Serangan Island (some call it Turtle Island). It is just a short taxi ride from the popular tourist regions like Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua or Jimbaran, therefore it is a perfect program even if you have only a few free hours. Make sure to explain to your driver that you want to visit the Serangan Turtle Conservation Bali Center! There are some other release projects in Bali, but sadly most of them not doing any conservation rather run as tourist attractions. Serangan Turtle Island is the official and the one that works as real conservation center. The area is a little bit remote and it is difficult to get taxi back to your hotel, therefore we recommend taking care of your return transfer in advance.
Saving sea turtles – Rescue, recovery, release
What is exactly Turtle Conservation Bali doing on Serangan Island? The main aspect of the center is turtle rescue besides conservation and education. They working hard to end turtle trade by encouraging the public not to consume turtle products and minimize their religious use too. The qualified employees follow American turtle hospital advice if it comes to treatment and recovery. Fishermen often bring injured or sick turtles in that were caught in nets with chunks of shell or flippers missing. When they are healthy and strong enough, they release them back to the sea. When police find turtles at illegal fishermen they also bring them into the park for monitoring if they are stressed or injured.
On the top of the rehabilitation, Turtle Conservation Bali works as a hatchery too! They have a monitoring service in the nesting season which runs usually between October and July. You probably know, that females always return to the same beach to lay their eggs. Due to developments in tourism, Bali coasts are not safe anymore for the eggs to hatch. Therefore, volunteers visit the beaches at night and collect the eggs to bury them in a sandy area in the conservation center until they hatch. The center cooperates with locals too; they pay them for the collected eggs to avoid ending up on the black market.
Turtle Island Serangan – What species to see?
The most common Bali sea turtle is the Olive Ridley. The eggs in the hatchery, the babies waiting for adoption are mostly Olive Ridleys. But also other species can be seen in the Serangan Turtle Park that was brought in because of sickness or injury. During our visit, there were Hawksbill and Green Sea turtles (one of this front flipper missing) at different sizes.
Probably you have heard that plastic pollution is one the biggest danger that sea creatures face nowadays. Floating plastic looks like jellyfish; turtles often eat it by mistake resulting in serious digestion problems. We’ve seen two turtles waiting for surgery due to plastic…
Due to deep traditions, turtles are still used in some religious ceremonies in Bali. Although Turtle Conservation Bali and other authorities working hard to stop these happenings, there is still a long way to go. However, they managed to agree that species must be purchased through the Conservation Park for the purpose of ceremonies. Like this, they can have some control over this tradition.
In a separate corner, you also can see tortoises (land turtles) in the Turtle Conservation Bali Center. Don’t miss out the funny feeding procedure while they are eating greedily fresh leaves from visitors’ hands!
What can you do to save turtles in Bali?
Turtle Conservation Bali enjoys the support of Bali Governor, different Denpasar authorities, The Nature Resources Conservation Agency and also WWF. They work non-profit and raising money through their baby turtle release program and donations. There is no entry fee, all the information and guiding is absolutely free, but if you can afford, please support their work! They spend the money on the rehabilitation, food, surgeries and also on keeping the center running. The donation box you find next to the seawater tanks with a small book where you can share your thoughts and tips about the center too! About the adoption and release program read more information below!
Adopt turtle – the cutest thing we’ve done in Bali
It is shocking to know that one of everybody’s favorite sea creature is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. Turtle release programs give higher chance to babies for life with the hope of stabilizing the population.
Turtle conservation Bali hatching process
As mentioned above, the staff put the collected eggs in the sand in a separate area of the park. This is how they protect them from birds and other predators. Approximately 50% of the eggs make success which is already a higher rate comparing to eggs left in nests at beaches. The babies hatch after 45-60 days when employees move them in the seawater tanks. Turtles are cannibals which means they often start fighting. Strong and big ones attack the weaker ones, so they can stay in the tanks only for a few weeks.
Turtle adoption and release program
Visitors wishing to participate in the release process and supporting the center by adopting a turtle can choose a baby from the big tanks. Kids often ask if they can take turtles home? But no; adopt turtle means you will place the bay back to her/his natural environment.
First, please talk to your guide or one of the employees who will ask you to sign the Adoption form. Don’t forget to choose a cute name for your baby turtle! The adoption costs only 150000 IDR (approx. 10.5 USD) and the money fully goes on operation. With your chosen baby in a small bucket, the staff transports you to the beach where the actual release happens. Arriving there, slowly and gently catch your turtle, wish her/him good luck and let swim away. Such a hear-warming moment! You will receive a nice certificate and a handmade necklace as a reminder of a memorable day!
Note: Sadly, the beach where the release happens is far from ideal. It is busy with boats and fishermen and full of rubbish. The center used other location before (maybe you can see that beach in older videos) which was quiet and the conditions were way better. But due to new developments, Turtle Conservation Center Bali can’t use that beach anymore. In a world where animals need our help more than ever, we see this kind of approach absolutely unacceptable and hoping that authorities will help the park to find a better coast for the release events.
Summary: Visiting Turtle Conservation Bali was one of the highlights of our Bali trip! We highly recommend this activity for families and all sea-lovers! A well-maintained park where young and old can get wider knowledge about these creatures and also understand better what the biggest, mainly human-caused threats that these species face. If you are lucky enough to visit Turtle Island when they have babies, don’t miss out the adoption, you won’t regret it for sure!
Anett fell in love with the ocean immediately when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea back in 2010. Discovering megacities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. She has a big interest in exploring the world’s last hidden underwater paradises and marine conservation. She hopes to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!