One of the negative effects of tourism is the decreasing habitat of wild. This also happens in Bali, which naturally is one of the breeding grounds for sea turtles. With the fast development of tourism, more and more habitat of sea turtles are lost.
In addition, the sea turtle illegal trade was also a major problem in Bali. Sea turtles were consumed, either by individuals or for religious purposes. The Turtle Conservation and Education Center (TCEC) is determined to solve the problem.
The purpose of TCEC
TCEC was inaugurated on January 20, 2006 by the Governor of Bali at that time; Dewa Barata. The development of TCEC is part of an effort to eradicate the illegal trade of sea turtles in Bali. TCEC is trying to empower surrounding communities to switch from illegal wildlife sales business to more sustainable ones. TCEC also strives to maximize the potential of tourism, conservation, education and research that are here to succeed in their goals.
The establishment of TCEC marked the definitive end of sea turtle illegal trade, they also provide turtles for religious rituals without killing the animal, providing employment opportunities to surrounding communities, and become a watchdog of the turtle trade throughout Bali. In the past few years, TCEC has begun to actively attract tourists to help them succeed in sea turtle conservation programs.
The conservation program that is carried out here is the hatching of turtle eggs in the conservation area. Newly hatched sea turtle babies are treated in the conservation area before they are released into the sea. This step was taken because the survival rate of turtles released when they were slightly older was far greater than when they had to go into the wild right after they hatched.
Adopting a turtle
TCEC opens their place for all tourists, either those who come only to look around or those who want to learn about turtle conservation seriously. This place is often visited by many school children who learn about the importance of turtle conservation. In general, it can be said that TCEC is an educational tourist destination, especially for children.
One of the excellent programs here is the adoption of turtles. Each visitor is given the opportunity to adopt a turtle of their choice. Not all turtles can be adopted, only those that are ready to be released into the sea.
By adopting, it does not mean visitors can bring home the turtle but they get the opportunity to release the turtle to the sea with their own hands. At a rate of around USD10 for this adoption, you will get a certificate stating that you have an adopted turtle somewhere in the ocean.
TCEC is located on Serangan Island, sometimes also called Turtle Island. This place is only a few minutes away from popular tourist areas such as Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, or Jimbaran. The island is a little remote, but it makes it an ideal location for turtle conservation efforts.
You have to be careful as there are several other places that claim to be the center of turtle conservation in Bali. But these places are tourist’s traps that only target your money.
If you are on the island of Bali, you will have the opportunity to give back to the environment by helping turtle conservation efforts in TCEC. You can even adopt one before releasing it into the sea.