On the western coast of Bali lies Perancak, home of a small community-run turtle conservation program. After being driven close to local extinction by over-hunting, the first turtle in 37 years landed to nest on Perancak beach in 1997. Kurma Asih, the ‘turtle lovers’ group, was quickly formed in the community, and a conservation program launched in conjunction with an international NGO. The program aimed at saving new turtle nests from predators including poachers hoping to sell the eggs in the markets. When the NGO phased out of the project in 2002, Kurma Asih carried on alone.
Amazing progress has been made. The 2005 nesting season brought a record of one hundred turtle nests – containing nearly 10,000 eggs – to safety in the Kurma Asih hatchery. But operational costs are running high, and the program is badly in need of public support if it is to continue.