…to start thinking about turtle conservation, as the animals make their way onto our shores to nest.
We, the students of Madras Christian College (department of marine studies and coastal resource management), and volunteers of Prakruthi, an eco-core group, went on a turtle walk along the shore at Vairavan Kuppam at Pulicat, located 60 km north of Chennai in Thiruvallur district to look for the nests of the Olive Ridley turtles.
The nesting season of the Olive Ridley is from January to March at Pulicat.
We started our walk at around 11 pm. We found two dead turtles lying ashore within a gap of 10 metres between them. One of them was decomposed while the other one seemed to have died recently.
The latter was identified as male because it had claws in the flippers and a big thick tail. We also noticed a few injuries on the head and the dorsal side of the left flipper. The death may be due to injury caused while being entangled in fishing nets.
These victims further indicated the arrival of turtles to the shore for the nesting season. It was also earlier reported by the fisherman Arumugam that there were many such victims being washed ashore during the season.
He also listed out a few other reasons such as getting hit by boat propellers or due to strangulation by fishing lines.
It is believed that this particular stretch at Vairavam Kuppam is one of the ideal nesting grounds for turtles and it is necessary to protect these animals.
S. UMER KHALIFA
M.Sc Marine Studies & Coastal Resource Management, Madras Christian College