Chennai

Over 600 Olive Ridley eggs collected in Chennai over the last fortnight

Staff examining the eggs of the Olive Ridley turtles

Staff examining the eggs of the Olive Ridley turtles   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Forest staff and fishermen are patrolling the coastline to remove obstructions from the turtles’ egg-laying areas

The Chennai Wildlife Division has collected close to 616 Olive Ridley Sea Turtle eggs, and recorded six nests over the last two weeks. A stakeholders consultative meeting will be conducted soon to ensure the safety of the eggs, turtles and their hatchlings.

Last year, a total of 50,600 eggs were collected and 44,000 hatchlings were released into the sea. This year, 16 forest staff and 10 local fishermen started patrolling the coastline from Marina to Neelankarai a month ago, to remove obstructions as well as predators from egg-laying areas.

“Two weeks ago, the turtles started laying eggs. The collected eggs are kept in hatcheries in Besant Nagar, Kovalam and Pulicat. Prior to this, we were involved in beach cleaning and patrolling ,” said C.H. Padma, Wildlife Warden, Chennai.

During one such patrol session, the staff spotted a turtle on the shore that had been injured by mechanised boats. “It was taken for treatment to the Theosophical Society Hospital by volunteers of the Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) and later released into the sea,” she said.

The Olive Ridley turtles nesting season is between January and May every year. “The peak season is February and March. The hatchlings emerge after 45 days and they are released into the sea safely,” she said.

The Wildlife Warden added that the SSTCN has been permitted to coordinate with the division for awareness activities. Earlier, the NGOs had their own hatcheries but the forest department has decided not to permit these.

“All the eggs will be deposited in the forest department’s hatcheries,” Ms. Padma said. The NGOs were not permitted to undertake any activity that will disturb Olive Ridleys, in the egg-laying zones of Chennai, she added.

Meanwhile, the Wildlife Division will be holding a meeting with various departments to ensure safety of the eggs, turtles and their hatchlings. While the Chennai Corporation will be requested to switch off street lights between 11.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m., resorts near the nesting zones, will be advised not to host any events beyond 11 p.m.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:34:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/over-600-olive-ridley-eggs-collected-in-chennai-over-the-last-fortnight/article30593511.ece

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