Chennai

Turtle conservation zones planned

Baby steps: According to conservationists, an average of nearly 40,000 Olive Ridley eggs are collected every year along the coastline.

Baby steps: According to conservationists, an average of nearly 40,000 Olive Ridley eggs are collected every year along the coastline.  

To ensure safety during December-April nesting, hatching seasons

In a bid to ensure the safety of turtles during nesting and hatching seasons, there are plans to set up turtle conservation zones along the coastline between December and April every year.

The proposal was discussed at a stakeholders consultative meeting held on Thursday. Convened by the Wild Life Warden, it was attended by Chennai Collector A. Shanmuga Sundaram and officials from various departments as well as representatives from NGOs.

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

It was also proposed in the meeting that strict action would be taken against resorts functioning after 11.00 p.m. during the conservation season.

In 2018, a PIL had been filed in the Madras High Court by Shravan Krishnan against a festival to be organised at a resort in Injambakkam and the court gave it a conditional nod, on condition that the music and events organised as part of it should not end up disturbing the Olive Ridley turtles. The Chennai Corporation has been instructed to switch off street lights between 11.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m.

This year, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has set up two hatcheries in the stretch from Marina to Kovalam. The department is planning to set up 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 collected 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.

Schools to be roped in

There are also plans to introduce an Information Education Campaign for school and college students in association with the Wild Life Warden, Chennai. “Educational institutions can conduct special one-hour awareness camps about wildlife conservation with a focus on Olive Ridleys. Thrust will given to habitations where students from the fishing community are studying,” he said.

The Collector said that the NGOs will rope in college students. “They will be involved in beach cleaning, collection of eggs, marking them and volunteering at the hatcheries. School students will also be roped in,” he added.

The phased implementation of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) is also on the anvil. “This will help turtles to slip out of the nets easily if they are caught. Though smaller boats use this, many of the bigger boats have been hesitant to and we are speaking with them about it” added Ms. Padma.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 7:07:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/turtle-conservation-zones-planned/article26274309.ece

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