The Fair Project: Rekawa Turtle Watch
Thank you to the Condé Nast Luxury Travel Fair for making Explorers Against Extinction its official Fair Charity once again!
The Fair has adopted a specific project.
All funds donated by Fair visitors will help to support the Rekawa beach community and safeguard the marine turtles which nest on the beaches of Rekawa in Sri Lanka.
Rekawa is on the south coast of Sri Lanka, near Tangalle. This small fishing village has a beautiful 2km stretch of beach and a lagoon. The wide, clean sandy beach with its coastal vegetation, and very little development, offers ideal conditions for marine turtles to come ashore and nest.
Five of the seven species of marine turtle can be found on this stetch of coast: Endangered Green turtles; Vulnerable Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles; Critically Endangered Hawksbill turtles.
Although marine turtles are protceted by law, many of the nests at Rekawa are disturbed and this has impacted their numbers.
Turtle Watch employs people from the local community. Some of these were turtle egg poachers before. In the past, local villagers collected almost all the turtle eggs laid on Rekawa beach. Now they patrol the beach to protect the nests and work as guides for tourists wishing to observe nesting turtles (during the nesting season).
The pandemic meant that the project received no visitors for a prolonged period of time, relying on emergency funding from organisations like ours. Just as travel resumed and they got back on their feet, political turmoil and economic instability caused the FCDO to Red List Sri Lanka preventing people to travel once again.
The project has endured a lot in the last few years and any support that we can provide is incredibly welcome.
Funds raised by the Condé Nast Luxury Travel Fair will support community beach patrols in the first instance. £5,000 would support 2 full months of round-the-clock monitoring – helping both community members at this challenging time in Sri Lanka, as well as safeguarding marine turtles.
Additional funds will help to provide for essential kit and for the project to develop and grow so it is ready for the return of visitors.