Bali's negative reputation as a center for the slaughter and sale of turtles is slowly changing, due to a number of heroic efforts such as the establishment of the Bali Turtle Education and Conservation Center established on Serangan Island five years ago.
As reported by Radar Bali, the Bali Turtle Conservation and Education Center (BTCEC) has become a popular spot on many tourism itineraries in Bali. For US$5 tourists get a tour of the facility, obtain information on efforts to preserve and protect Indonesia's turtle populations and receive a keepsake souvenir. Since its inauguration the BTCEC now has a wantilan for lectures and meetings, tanks for breeding and raising turtles, and separate tanks for the care of confiscated larger turtles destined for rehabilitation and return to the oceans.
Visitors to the BTCEC are allowed to view at least three different species of turtles.
One of the most important functions of the facility is the care and hatching of turtle eggs recovered from beaches around Bali that would have otherwise been ravaged by local villagers and animals.
Visitors to the BTCEC, both domestic and foreign, are invited to pay Rp. 50,000 (US$5) to adopt a turtle. In return contributors are taken to the nearby beach to release a baby turtle and given a small statute to commemorate the day. In the past 4 years more than 5,000 turtles have been released into the oceans from the BTCEC.
A classroom at the center is also used for lectures and films presented for visiting student groups wishing to learn more about the life cycle of turtles and the precarious nature of their future existence in the world's oceans.
The center also is involved in a strictly controlled program in which a small number of turtles are provided for ritual sacrifice at Balinese religious ceremonies each year. The turtles, all under 20 centimeters in diameter, are provided to local temples at a cost of Rp. 500,000 per turtle (US$50) and only provided after written authorization is first received from local environmental and religious watchdog agencies.
The BTEC is supported by admission charges and public donations and is located on Serangan Island.
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