Turtle Conservation Plan Discussed

Representation Image Only Turtle Couple Emerge From Ramganga River; Photo by M. Karthikeyan

In an endeavour to ensure the safety of turtles during nesting and hatching seasons, wildlife officials and stakeholders in India’s Chennai city discussed a proposal to set up turtle conservation zones along the coastline between December and April every year.

The proposal was assessed at a stakeholders consultative meeting held on Thursday. Convened by the Wild Life Warden, it was attended by Chennai Collector A. Shanmuga Sundaram and appointees from various departments as well as representatives from NGOs, according to a report in The Hindu newspaper.

Several extensive actions have been initiated to this problem from the grass root level like in 2018, a PIL had been filed in the Madras High Court by Shravan Krishnan against a festival which is likely to trigger a considerable disturbance within Olive Ridley turtles because of the raucous music and events which make a vital part of the festival.

To harbour the turtles, this year, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has established up two hatcheries in the expanse from Marina to Kovalam. The department is scheming to lay out another hatchery in Pulicat, where there has been an increase in nesting activity of Olive Ridleys this year. This year, close over 17,000 eggs have been stockpiled in Besant Nagar from 81 nests and 2,300 in Kovalam from 21 nests. “On an average, nearly 40,000 eggs are collected every year,” said C.H. Padma, Wild Life Warden, Chennai.

Plans to commence an Information Education Campaign for school and college students in alliance with the Wild Life Warden, Chennai. Academic institutions would administer special one-hour awareness camps about wildlife conservation with a focus on Olive Ridleys. Thrust will be given to habitations where students from the fishing community are learning.

“We will first list out the nesting and breeding grounds of the Olive Ridley turtles and notify them. Precautionary measures like regulating and prohibiting activities along the coast to safeguard the eggs and the turtles will be taken up. We will be roping in environmentalists and NGOs for this purpose. Following this, we will release a proposal to the government through the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests by March,” the Collector said.