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Play your part in saving
endangered
sea turtles

The first & only 100% ethical sea turtle project in Sri Lanka

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  • Duration
    1-24 Weeks
  • Accompanied age
    5+
  • Minimum age
    16+
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From
    £200
  • Duration
    1-24 Weeks
  • Accompanied age
    5+
  • Minimum age
    16+
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From
    £200

Sri Lanka sea turtle conservation

Come and help on the most exciting sea turtle project in Sri Lanka that is the first of its kind! You will play a vital role in saving critically endangered sea turtles on a 100% ethical project, set up and run by The Mighty Roar.

You, along with other volunteers are urgently needed to help with our worthwhile conservation efforts. You will not only be contributing your time and money to saving turtles within our hatchery and local area but also to gathering essential research data to change how the whole industry is currently run in Sri Lanka!

Our brand new purpose built large hatchery was funded and constructed by previous volunteers and we now need as many people as possible to come and help continue our efforts. Every nest, every egg, every hatchling and every turtle released is crucial to the survival of the species, so why not be part of something special where you can genuinely say you helped sea turtles in Sri Lanka!

Background to the sea turtle programme

Unfortunately, sea turtle populations around the world are on a sharp decline due to natural predators and severe human interference. One of the biggest problems in Sri Lanka are human poachers, who mishandle the eggs to sell to turtle sanctuaries or to locals as a source of food or medicine. Another major problem is actually the 40 so called sanctuaries that line the west coast of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, these projects are set up purely to make money from tourists, with many cruel practices happening day in day out.

We regularly visit many of the sanctuaries nearby, where many hundreds of volunteers from around the world go every year to supposedly help. There is absolutely no conservation happening and nine times out of ten they are actually making the situation worse. Some of the bigger problems include; many healthy sea turtles being confined to very small tanks without being able to swim or dive, thousands of tourists holding turtles (often dropping them), baby sea turtles being kept in tanks for many weeks before being released (therefore using up all of their energy and any hope of survival) and most sanctuaries from what we can tell have a very low hatching success rate and are mainly producing males.

Our aim of the programme is simple; to conserve the critically endangered sea turtles that nest upon the shores of Sri Lanka. We hope to achieve this by:

  1. Educating the local community about the importance of sea turtles and the environment (plastic, littering etc.)
  2. Provide a new income to local poachers (assisting volunteers, tours and many other ideas) to gradually decrease their presence.
  3. Collect vital research data about nesting turtles and our hatchery's success rate to provide to the government to then look at imposing stricter legislations regarding poaching and turtle sanctuaries.
  4. Create a tour permit system whereby former poachers and sanctuary staff take tourists onto nesting beaches in a safe and ethical way - therefore reducing the need for income from traditional sanctuaries. 

With five of the seven sea turtle species (Hawksbill, Green, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback) being regularly found along the coast of Sri Lanka, there is no better place to volunteer to ensure these amazing animals have the best chance of survival. Although the nesting season is at its peak from November to May, there are turtles coming ashore regularly all year round!

Working alongside fellow volunteers, our dedicated local team and at times, research biologists, you will get to learn so much about the local environment and sea turtles. All of the research data we gather will be collated and published every year to not only help us improve but we also hope that we can change the current situation in Sri Lanka and in the sanctuaries.

Where will I be volunteering?

You will spend the majority of your days and nights on the nearby beaches working with wild turtles! The first and most important location is Akruala beach. This 2 kilometre stretch of golden sandy beach is a hot spot for sea turtles coming ashore to nest, with over 15,000 eggs collected every year - and it's just a 10 second walk away!

We have identified a further 2 beaches close by that we regularly work on and we hope one day they will be safe havens so the nests can remain on the beach as nature intended. In an ideal world there would be no need for hatcheries and we hope from the work we do and the data we gather, we can eventually make this a reality.

The rest of your time will be spent at our purpose built hatchery, just a 20 second walk from the volunteer accommodation or at the accommodation itself, collecting and correlating any required research data.

What is my role?

You will play an important role and be fully involved in our efforts of trying to save sea turtles in Sri Lanka. You will get hands-on experience with this once in a lifetime opportunity to work so closely with these beautiful creatures. You will leave feeling rewarded after having made such a positive impact on the future survival of sea turtles. Get ready for some unforgettable memories and amazing experiences in this truly beautiful country. Just some of the activities you could be involved with are:

Night beach patrols - One of the main tasks will be to patrol one of three nearby beaches in search of sea turtles coming up to nest. Walking along the pristine sandy beaches listening to the waves crash down is not a bad way to spend your evenings / nights! Seeing a turtle slowly make it’s way out of the sea and up to nest is an amazing experience! You will be responsible for transporting any eggs you come across back to the safety of our hatchery where they will have the best chance of survival. Each shift will generally last 1 to 2 hours and cover a distance of between 1 and 4km.

Hatchery guarding - Looking after the hatchery on a shift like basis, you will be guarding all of the nests from any potential predators. During this period you will be in charge of weighing, measuring and releasing all new hatchlings into the sea. 

Releasing baby turtles - By far the most popular and best activity, you will get the chance to release newly hatched babies into the sea. This rewarding activity is of course why we are all here and there is no better experience than knowing you have contributed to the wild sea turtle populations. For the best chance of survival, the babies are released as soon as they hatch at differing locations.

Sea turtle rescue - Our local team and volunteers are always on call in case a sea turtle is in need of rescue. We regularly get calls from local fishermen who have accidentally caught turtles in their fishing nets as well as from locals who have come across a sea turtle who is stuck or in distress. Volunteers will play a vital role in helping these turtles to rehabilitate and then release them back into the sea once they are fit and healthy.

Tank cleaning and refilling - We need to ensure that our two tanks are always clean to make sure any seas turtles currently in our care are happy. Even if we do not currently have any turtles present, we always need to be prepared and ready in case that call comes. Although a relatively simple task, without any kind of pumping equipment and in the tropical heat - it can be quite gruelling!

Beach cleans - Not the most exciting job, but ensuring that the coastline along the project site is clean and tidy will result in more females coming up to lay their eggs – crucial for securing their futures! 

On top of the above, you could also find yourself conducting morning census, maintaining the hatchery and any associated equipment and raising awareness within the local community. 

What will a typical day look like?

The majority of sea turtle activity actually happens during the late evening / night and in the early mornings. For this reason, most activities generally occur during this time, leaving you with plenty of free time during the day to relax or assist with other programmes.

No two days will ever be the same and at the blink of an eye you could be off to rescue a turtle! Depending on what your group has been scheduled to do for the day, you could be up helping from as early as 6am or on a late night beach patrol until 2am! A typical day may look like this -

6:30am - 7:30am - Morning census
8:00am - Breakfast
9:00am - 10/11:00am - Carrying out any scheduled tasks such as beach cleans, tank cleaning / refilling and feeding any sea turtles in our care. You can also assist on our teaching and childcare programmes if wanted.
11:00am - 1:00pm - Free time
1:00pm - Lunch
2:00pm - Assist with the community teaching class or free time.
7:00pm - Dinner
7:30pm - 12:00am - night beach patrols, hatchery guarding and releasing any newly hatched turtles

Where will I be staying?

We cannot think of anywhere better to stay when volunteering in Sri Lanka! Our volunteer accommodation is just a stones throw away (10 second walk) from a quiet golden sand beach that is lined with palm trees – paradise! It’s the perfect place to come and relax each evening and witness some incredible sunsets. Not only this, but you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters that have an abundance of colourful fish swimming around the coral reef and you may even see a sea turtle swim by!

The touristy backpacker town of Hikkaduwa is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away where you can visit many restaurants and bars that back right onto the beach. A favourite town amongst most volunteers, there are many supermarkets, quirky shops and water activities on offer – including surfing. The fishermen town of Ambalangoda is just another 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away in the other direction and offers a more local and traditional way of life. You can visit markets, devil mask museums and also see the largest laying down Buddha statue.

The accommodation is also conveniently located close to the historic town of Galle and well known beaches including Mirissa and Unawatuna.

Other things to consider

Top destination - Sri Lanka is widely considered by our volunteers to be our best volunteer destination. The majority of our feedback suggests that this is due to the superior local support offered by Charith and our local team, the volunteer programmes making a real difference, value for money and accommodation location. With this in mind, we believe that Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for first-time travellers, under 18's and families with younger children.

Helping on multiple projects - Whilst in Sri Lanka and as a sea turtle volunteer, you will also have the opportunity to get involved with all of our other programmes. This unique experience will allow you to assist with sea turtle conservation, but also assist where wanted on our childcare, teaching and dog sanctuary programmes for no additional charge.

Weekends and free time - You will have every weekend off from volunteering and this is the perfect time to explore everything this beautiful island has to offer. You are more than welcome to simply relax around the accommodation and enjoy the nearby beaches, but most volunteers will use this time to travel and see the country. Further down this page you will come across many suggestions and ideas on where you could go. Alternatively, if you are looking to see as much of the country as possible during this time, travel with other volunteers and be accompanied by one of our local team members, then you may be interested in one or more of the organised weekend trips we run.

Great Time In Sri Lanka

I had a great time in Sri Lanka, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it at all as it was my first long haul flight and with no one I knew but the family are extremely welcoming and the volunteers you meet are all 99% in the same boat as you so everyone gets on perfectly.

Depending on what cou... Read More

Sam GrayFebruary 2020

Family Volunteering in Sri Lanka

My three teenage children and I spent two weeks over Christmas with TMR in Sri Lanka. It was the most amazing experience that has enriched our lives in so many ways. Charith, his family and his team welcomed us into their home and taught us so much about their work with sea turtles and their b... Read More

Emma MitchellJanuary 2020

TMR Sea Turtle Conservation

Thank you to everyone in Sri Lanka for making the sea turtle conservation trip such an amazing experience. So many highlights and special moments, but the opportunity to live with Charith's family will stay with me for ever as will all the staff who were always there to answer questions, sugge... Read More

Zoe PhillipsJanuary 2020

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with lovely friendly people. We really enjoyed our time volunteering on the turtle programme. Charith and the two main helpers were so helpful and good fun to work with.

We loved the orientation day with the jungle walk and the visit to a temple. ARead More

Sally MayDecember 2019

Sri Lanka Turtles

I arrived from Sri Lanka a couple of days ago after three weeks Volunteering with the turtles. I cannot explain into words how amazing this experience is from watching turtles lay eggs on the beach and protecting them from local poachers, to feeding and cleaning out the large tanks and also co... Read More

Sammy JadeDecember 2019

Just Fabulous, these guys are gems

Just fabulous - recommend without reservations for any age.

We had an amazing time staying at TMR. Charith and his family couldn't have been more welcoming and accommodating. As an older than average couple at around the half century we opted for a private room, which gave us plenty of s... Read More

Tamsin BrownbridgeDecember 2019

2 weeks in Sri Lanka

Just finished my 2 weeks volunteering at TMR with turtles. Back at home now and missing Sri Lanka, the weather(!!?), the experience and the wonderful people I met and worked with on my journey. It really was the best experience I have had. If there’s one piece of advise I can give, that’s just... Read More

Jason CowsillDecember 2019

Turtle conservation in Sri Lanka

I had the best time in Sri Lanka on the turtle conservation project. From the moment I was met at the airport I felt safe and welcome. The accommodation is lovely it is basic but beds comfortable and bathroom nice you really dont need anything more and the location is great just opposite the b... Read More

Lydia RackhamSeptember 2019

Amazing experience in Sri Lanka

Really enjoyed my time in Sri Lanka. The food was delicious and the accommodation was in a really convenient place. Made some amazing friends and tried things of which I'd never tried before. Definitely would recommend, and would love to do a another project with the mighty roar again!

Edward GumSeptember 2019

Turtles in Sri Lanka

Had a week on the turtle experience in Sri Lanka and was just gutted it wasn’t more. They are doing such good things for the good and doing things correctly. Very welcoming and always on hand to help and the people you meet are just amazing and all like minded. Will be 100% going back at some ... Read More

Danny BoysSeptember 2019

Sea Turtle Conservation

The sea turtle conservation program was honestly one of the best experiences of my life! Charith and his family were so friendly and welcoming, it made the place have an amazing feel to it. The accommodation is basic but very clean and the air conditioning was life saving. Even though I was on... Read More

Joesph HitchesSeptember 2019

Sri Lanka turtle project

In October 2018 me and my boyfriend completed 1 week at the turtle project in Sri Lanka but we wished we had stayed longer!! Charith and his family were very welcoming and friendly. Even though we were only there for a week we went on trips to Ella and Galle which were amazing. Our accommodati... Read More

Katie BodenSeptember 2019

Turtle project volunteer

I went on the turtle project and had a great time, even though it was off season I saw over 100 hatchlings and helped save a few full grown turtles. There was a lot more free time than I expected so didn’t plan much but I made many friends and we went out to Hikkaduwa, Galle and Marissa on a f... Read More

Katie HaynesAugust 2019

Most amazing experience of my life

This was the most amazing experience of my life! Being 18 and travelling alone was the scariest thing but the whole experience was made so comfortable by Chris and Charith! Charith and his family were so welcoming and having the chance to stay in a safe place with some really good food was per... Read More

Tegan WinterAugust 2019

Fantastic time in Sri Lanka

My teenage daughter and I travelled 5 -19th July 2019 to the Sea Turtle project in Sri Lanka. We had a fantastic time! Charith and his family were so welcoming, informative and a lot of fun. I was really impressed as to how "hands on" the project was and... Read More

Lisa SweetingAugust 2019

Sea turtle conservation in Sri Lanka

This project allowed children and my youngest daughter Lucy was 15 at the time, as well as offering a one week programme – we only had time for the Maldives trip and a week’s volunteering so it was perfect for us. The whole set up was so professional, from start to finish. 

We ... Read More

Jennie BaylissJune 2019

Just returned from turtle conservation

Just returned from turtle conservation in Sri Lanka - we were really looked after before trip and during. We learnt so much and experienced so much. I still watch videos on Facebook and will the baby turtles to make it into the sea! We arrived at the airport at the crack of dawn, The Mighty Ro... Read More

Alison ThurleyJune 2019

The Mighty Roar Sri Lanka was insane

The Mighty Roar Sri Lanka was insane! The family, locals and volunteers were amazing. It was 6 weeks of great memories, cool experiences and so many new friends! Can't wait to go back!

Imogen BendallJune 2019

Amazing place!

I had the best 2 weeks staying with Charith and his family, everyone was so welcoming and friendly (including the cats Pudding and Sphinx). My days were very varied, some days I would have early beach patrol (checking the beach for tracks that may have been missed during the night), painting p... Read More

Karen GreenMay 2019

What an amazing trip!

Our visit to Sri Lanka on the Sea Turtle volunteering program, was nothing but incredible (other than a little hot and sweaty) The team were welcoming and helpful from the start, and made sure we were able to make the most of our trip from the get go, helping us to book any extra trips out. I'... Read More

Catherine MillsMay 2019

3 weeks in Sri Lanka

I had 3 weeks in Sri Lanka and it was incredible from day one a massive warm Welcome from Mia, Simon, Chris, the current volunteers and most importantly Charith and his Amazing Family. On the first full day we had a tour of the local area which was so so... Read More

Thomas WoodMay 2019

Such an amazing experience and so…TMR

Such an amazing experience and so rewarding. Not only are you part of a team but you become part of The Mighty Roar family. We travelled as a family for 2 weeks, on the turtle project which was lots of fun with everyone having the chance to get involved ... Read More

Paul CollinsMay 2019

An insane 3 weeks in Sri Lanka

An insane 3 weeks in Sri Lanka , we were well looked after and treated as family. I would definitely recommend TMR to solo travellers who want to meet new people and have new experiences. 

Sophie WeeksApril 2019

4 weeks in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, it gets in your blood. So here we are three months on from my trip to Sri Lanka where I spent the best 4 weeks of my life. A real sense of achievement and I still get excited talking about it now. There is no better feeling in the world than watching a hundred or so baby turtle... Read More

Martin MillerApril 2019

Turtles in Sri Lanka

That was my first volunteering experience abroad and on my own, and I really loved it. I would definitely recommend it and will certainly do it again. I wish I was there longer but I still got to enjoy Sri Lanka and was lucky enough to see turtles and hatching in a short period of time. Everyb... Read More

Julie Bailly-MaîtreFebruary 2019

I had 3 weeks in Sri Lanka

We travelled to Sri Lanka as a family with my 8 year old son, never having volunteered before and not knowing what to expect. I can honestly say we had the best experience!

The Mighty Roar allowed my son to be actively involved in all the ta... Read More

Loretta RidgwayJanuary 2019

Conserving sea turtles in Sri Lanka

There is no better feeling in the world than watching a hundred or so baby turtle hatchlings scrambling along the shoreline to the sea, the determination and drive to reach the ocean, it never gets old.

Martin's story

Volunteering in Sri Lanka with my partner

Our visit to Sri Lanka on the Sea Turtle program was nothing but incredible (other than a little hot and sweaty). Our 3 weeks was amazing from day one, with a massive warm welcome from everyone.

Catherine's story

Teaching and turtles in Sri Lanka

I went to Sri Lanka in January 2019 to volunteer on the sea turtle program, but was also able to help teach English. I had a huge sense of fulfillment from both projects in completely different ways.

Esther's story

Volunteering with my family in Sri Lanka

My family and I chose to volunteer in Sri Lanka last August for 3 weeks. We wanted to introduce the children to volunteering so that we could all help give something back to a local community.

Sue's story

Sea turtle conservation in Sri Lanka

My daughter and I volunteered with sea turtles last August and we would 100% recommend The Mighty Roar; we have even looked at doing another project in the next year.

Jennie's story

A month helping turtles in Sri Lanka

I have just come back from spending 4 weeks at The Mighty Roar in Sri Lanka and I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life.

Courtney's story

The real Sri Lanka Experience

Seeing all of Sri Lanka and meeting the amazing people there could have not been any more perfect. An incredible 3 weeks that I will never forget.

Samantha's story