Adopting baby sea turtles and releasing back them to the ocean is definitely a heart-warming experience for all ocean-lovers. We knew that there are several places that are perfect to snorkel with turtles Bali, but if you are around, make sure to visit the Turtle Conservation Bali non-profit organization where you can not only learn a lot about these wonderful creatures but also adopt turtle and release them into the ocean. Now we share with you how to go to Bali’s official Turtle Island, The Serangan Turtle Park. Moreover, you will get all your question answered from this post like How they save turtles and how can you adopt a turtle.
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Serangan Turtle Conservation Bali – The real 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 to learn where we swam with turtles in Bali!
How to get to Turtle Conservation Center Bali?
The Sea Turtle Conservation and Education Center can be found on Serangan Island, therefore 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 one, the 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.
What’s happening in the Turtle Conservation Center?
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. So far they managed to agree that species must be purchased through the Conservation Park for the purpose of ceremonies. There is still a long way to go, but like this, they can have some control over this tradition.
Qualified employees follow American turtle hospitals’ advice if it comes to treatment and recovery. Fishermen often bring injured or sick turtles 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. 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 where they stay for a few weeks. The center cooperates with locals too; they pay them for the collected eggs to prevent them from ending up on the black market.
What turtle species you can here?
Visitors can see here almost all the turtle species that live in the coastal waters of Bali, but the most common one 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 at different sizes.
Probably you have heard that plastic pollution in the ocean is one of the biggest dangers 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 that definitely made us think about how to reduce plastic usage when traveling.
In a separate corner, you also can see tortoises (land turtles) in the Turtle Conservation Bali Center. Don’t miss out on the funny feeding procedure while they are eating greedily fresh leaves from visitors’ hands!
Tip: read our interesting turtle facts article and watch this video below to learn more about these creatures!
How you can help to save turtles in Bali?
Turtle Conservation Bali enjoys the support of the Bali Government and also different Denpasar authorities, The Nature Resources Conservation Agency and also WWF. Since the center is non-profit, there is no entry fee and even the guiding is free, they raise money through their baby turtle release program and donations only, so please support their work when you are here!
They spend the money on 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 in the next section!
Tip: if you want to know where in the world is the easiest to see turtles in their natural environment, in the ocean, read our Best places to swim with turtles post!
Turtle adoption and release program
It is shocking to know that one of everybody’s favorite sea creature is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. The center’s Turtle release programs give higher chance to babies for life with the hope of stabilizing the population.
Visitors who wish to participate in the release process and support 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; adopting the turtle means you will place the baby back to the sea.
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.
Final thoughts on visiting the Bali Turtle Conservation Center: the afternoon we spent here was definitely one of the highlights of our Bali trip! We highly recommend this activity for families and all sea-lovers! In this well-maintained park young and old can get wider knowledge about these creatures and also understand better what the biggest, mainly human-caused threats are 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!
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