Dedicated volunteers, lasting impact: Hayleys Puritas honours third year of ‘Behold the Turtle’ project on World Volunteerism Day

Puritas, the environmental engineering arm of Haycarb PLC, reaffirmed its commitment to conserving endangered sea turtles through its long-standing ‘Behold the Turtle’ project.

Launched in December 2020, the project is a collaborative effort with the Department of Wildlife Conservation focused on establishing and maintaining a turtle hatchery in Kirigalbe Beach situated within the Kumana National Park. The project, driven by dedicated volunteers from Puritas, ensures the protection and conservation of a 12 km stretch with regular patrols, the collection of eggs and the maintenance of detailed records of each process.

“On this World Volunteerism Day, we proudly commemorate the third anniversary of our ‘Behold the Turtle’ project. At Puritas, our commitment to environmental stewardship goes beyond occasional projects as we strive for sustainable initiatives that create a lasting impact and foster positive change. This initiative, wholly driven by our dedicated volunteers, exemplifies this commitment as we work hand-in-hand to preserve our natural heritage and inspire a future where environmental well-being is paramount,” Haycarb Managing Director Rajitha Kariyawasan said.

Harsh conditions mark the dedication of the Puritas team to this meaningful cause. Employees leave for the hatchery from Monday to Saturday during their project excursions, twice a month for six months, to meticulously track sea turtle activities, locate nests, document vital parameters, and carefully transport collected eggs to the hatchery.

In addition to the relocation and preserving of the eggs, the initiative encompasses essential tasks such as cleaning the hatchery area, applying medicine to turtles in need, and supporting the analysis of necropsies on deceased nestlings and beached carcasses.

Sri Lanka, home to five out of seven sea turtle species globally, holds sea turtle conservation close to its heart. The initiative by Puritas aligns seamlessly with conservation efforts for endangered species like the Green Turtle, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, and Leather-Back, which grace the Southern and Eastern coastal belts of Sri Lanka. Sea turtles play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine habitats, with at least three of the seven species classified as critically endangered.

The Puritas team, well supported by Haycarb, also demonstrates its commitment to sustaining the project with regular investments to maintain a bungalow for volunteers and ensure a steady supply of electricity to the Kumana Turtle Hatchery. Unique for its organic reach of sea turtles and controlled human interference, the hatchery is the farthest on the East Coast, requiring a seven to eight-hour journey – this has also led to it facing several issues ranging from logistical to manpower-based, despite its significant role in conserving sea turtles.

In further efforts to bolster the coastal ecosystem, over 120 employees from Haycarb PLC gathered for a beach cleanup programme along the Gampaha district coastline, spanning from Ma Oya Moya to Preethipura beach, in honor of World Oceans Day 2023. Partnering with key environmental bodies (such as the CEA and MEPA), as well as local councils of Negombo MC and Wattala PS, the initiative gathered over 20 metric tons of waste. Additionally, 22 bins were donated, contributing to improved trash disposal procedures.

Volunteers overlooking the hatching of turtles at the Kumana Turtle Hatcher

Newborn turtles making their way to the ocean

Kumana Turtle Conservation Unit and Information Center

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