Travel

A HEAVEN FOR TURTELS

The incredible Turtle Sanctuary at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Bali, is a must-visit for nature lovers

Each year, the long stretch of the Seminyak beach at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Bali becomes the nesting grounds for the endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea). The 500-metre portion of the resort’s beach has become one of the places where female of the species come ashore to lay their eggs at night. In an effort to conserve these precious eggs, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Bali developed a Turtle Sanctuary in 2013.

Naturalists at the resort take care of the eggs, shifting them to a safe area within the property and keeping a guard until they hatch. Named after their unique olive colour, the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles are categorised Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the world and the people of the Turtle Sanctuary are very proud of the conservation work they do. With a heart-shaped shell, the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is one of the smallest species of sea turtle in the world, with adults reaching up to 70 cm in length, and weighing a maximum of 50 kg at maturity. The female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs between May and October along the sandy stretch of beach in front of the resort, and it takes anywhere between 45 to 70 days, depending on weather conditions, for them to hatch.

At The Oberoi Beach Resort, Bali’s Turtle Sanctuary, the vulnerable hatchlings are fed and cared for in custom-built saltwater holding tanks for a maximum of five days. Holding them in captivity any longer causes their internal instinct to reach the sea to become diminished. In a phenomenon known as beach fidelity, many of females return to the same beach each time they are ready to nest. In fact, they often come to within a few hundred yards of where they last nested. In 2014, the resort received 15 arrivals of mother turtles, leaving 1,553 eggs, of which 1,183 were successfully hatched and released into the ocean. In 2015 the arrivals went down to 6 but in 2016 it went back up to 14 arrivals with 1051 eggs, of which 749 hatched. In 2018 the resort saw mother turtles laying 1,389 eggs of which 857 hatched.

Some variables, such as the climate during the hatching period, affect this process but once the eggs are hatched, the hatchlings spend a maximum of five days at the hotel’s Turtle Sanctuary, where they learn to swim in the saltwater until they become good swimmers. This is when the hotel invites guests to take part in releasing the hatchlings back into the sea – a truly wonderful and joyful experience for

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