Wa Ale Island is a secluded tropical island in the Mergui Archipelago, a group of over 800 islands off the southern coast of Myanmar. As part of the country’s only marine protected area, the Lampi Marine National Park, this small island is home to a number of rare nesting sea turtles, who lay their eggs each season on its sandy beaches just a few feet from the island’s back-to-nature eco-resort.
The nesting turtle site is thanks to a unique collaboration between the Myanmar government and a private venture that created a conservation-led tourism project. Those that make it to this remote island will see guards protecting the sand dunes where sea turtles come up each full moon of the season to lay their eggs. The resident security guard often is stationed by a river platform where the trees hide camouflaged python snakes, wrapped around the trees, sleeping.
It is estimated that more than 4,000 green, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles have been saved as a result of the initiative.