ComBank’s turtle protection project: Over 8,000 Hatchlings Released in 8 Months
Thousands of turtle hatchlings have been safely released to their natural habitat under an initiative supported by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon to protect these endangered mariners and promote biodiversity.
In the past eight months alone, 8,490 hatchlings from 70 protected turtle nests in Panama in the Ampara District, were returned to the ocean through the Bank-funded marine turtle conservation project of Wildlife and Ocean Resource Conservation (WORC) of Sri Lanka, a project Commercial Bank has supported since 2019.
The immediate objective of the project is protecting the nests and eggs of sea turtles, within the identified territory, from predators such as pigs, foxes, mongoose, spotted iguana, and dogs. With Commercial Bank’s participation, WORC expanded its efforts to three kilometres of previously unprotected beach last year and to another three kilometres in 2021.
The initiative benefits four species of turtles including the Videlicet Green, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, and Leatherback turtles that call this stretch of beach their home. The success of the collaborative conservation activities last year inspired the Bank and WORC to extend the term of the MoU governing the project.
Commercial Bank’s support was instrumental in protecting seven turtle nests in September 2020, eight nests each in October, November, and December 2020, and 25, 29 and 25 nests respectively from January to March in 2021. Of these, 110 nests were of endangered turtle species: 89 nests of Olive Ridley, 14 nests of Green Turtle, and seven nests of Loggerhead. The protection of nests persisted despite interruptions to night patrols, owing to frequent leopard visits at night in the past few months, according to the nest protectors.
The ultimate aim of the project is to restore a degraded ecosystem and inspire a culture and community of environmental stewardship. Besides funding the project, Commercial Bank also supports WORC in its efforts to build partnerships with communities, raise education and awareness, and identify sustainable livelihoods and business opportunities associated with the project and kick-start associated activities. The Bank said, it will engage actively in the project wherever possible.
Commercial Bank of Ceylon also collaborated with WORC on a mangrove restoration project, the first phase of which was completed recently and the second phase set in motion. Under the first phase of the ‘Koggala Mangrove Restoration and Conservation Project,’ the Bank funded the planting of 2,000 mangrove plants, 750 mangrove associates, and 500 terrestrial plants on ‘Kath Duwa, a little island in the Koggala Lake. Phase two entails the planting of another 3,750 mangrove saplings to form a protective boundary around the island.