Chennai

Chennai: Saki, the olive ridley sea turtle, returns home rejuvenated

Saki, an Olive Ridley sea turtle, being taken in a boat to be relased in the sea near Neelankarai coast on Wednesday. The injured turtle was kept at the Tree Foundation’s facility in Chennai for treatment for three months.

Saki, an Olive Ridley sea turtle, being taken in a boat to be relased in the sea near Neelankarai coast on Wednesday. The injured turtle was kept at the Tree Foundation’s facility in Chennai for treatment for three months. | Photo Credit: M. KARUNAKARAN

An Olive Ridley sea turtle which was rescued in January and treated for three months was released in the sea on Wednesday.

On January 21, S. Sakaravarthy, 52, who was off to the sea with his fellow fishermen, noticed a large net floating. He wanted to pull it closer to the boat and take a look at it much to the annoyance of others. After a great deal of persuasion by Sakaravarthy, the group brought the net closer only to find the turtle entangled in the net. “The others felt we should just let it be as she may die soon. But I could not. I wanted to give it our best shot and bring her to the shore alive for some treatment,” he said.

Watch | Saki, rescued turtle, returns home

On Wednesday, Sakaravarthy bid adieu to Saki, the rescued turtle, after three months of treatment and rehabilitation at the Tree Foundation Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre here.

Supraja Dharini, chairperson of Tree Foundation, said Saki (meaning friend and named after her rescuer Sakaravarthy) was special because it was challenging to treat her after she was entangled in a ghost net that weighed 1,464 kg. When they rescued her, her front flipper was mired in the net and caused near fatal injuries to the soft flesh around her neck. It resulted in the amputation of the flipper.

R. Jayaprakash, specialist veterinarian, treated her and she was given medical attention for an extended period. During this time, Saki was placed in seawater rehabilitation tanks and fed with fish, squids, shrimps and crabs. “While we are happy to send her back, we think about the human-induced challenges she has to face. Not just turtles but all marine life face problems due to fisheries interaction, ghost nets and fishing gear. We have initiated an incentivisation programme for fishermen with HCL Foundation recently,” she said.

Around 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday, Saki was released about 3 km off the Neelankarai coast. “I’m glad she made it. But we do feel bad to let her go. We will miss her,” he said.

Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, environment wing secretary of the DMK, recalled that the last few decades witnessed a great deal of harm to the nature.


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 9:31:02 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/saki-olive-ridley-sea-turtle-returns-home-after-rehabilitation/article65338555.ece