CHENNAI: It is that time of the year when groups of students and nature enthusiasts go on turtle walks along the Neelankarai - Elliots beach stretch. The walks are aimed at conserving the Olive Ridley, a sea turtle species.
The Forest Department, along with non-governmental organisations such as the Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) and Tree Foundation, has been doing significant work to preserve the species.
The eggs are collected safely and nurtured in hatcheries. Once they hatch, the hatchlings are released into the sea.
“The joy of seeing a hatchling being safely let into its home (the sea) cannot be explained in words. It’s amazing,” said R. Vaishnavi, a student.
“We have been conducting awareness programmes for fishermen to address this problem. There has certainly been a decline in the number of turtles being washed ashore in the last few years,” the official said.
“We cannot deny fishermen of their livelihood. We are trying our best to spread awareness,” the official added.
SSTCN coordinator V. Arun said, “With the help of the Forest Department we are able to monitor the beach more carefully and poaching has been reduced drastically. However, in addressing the death of turtles caught in trawl nets, we have a long way to go.”