120 sea turtle hatchlings join the sea in Kodi-Kundapura

Sea turtle hatchlings being guided towards the sea through torchlights at the Kodi beach in Kundapura taluk on Wednesday night.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

There was a sigh of relief by several volunteers and Forest Department personnel when around 120 sea turtle eggs hatched, and hatchlings safely joined the sea on Wednesday night at Kodi beach in Kundapura taluk.

The volunteers had been keeping vigil during nights since a week to ensure the first batch of eggs laid by sea turtles on January 22 reached the gestation period of 48 days and more. Volunteers and the department had created 10 temporary hatcheries along Kodi beach and one at Gopadi beach to the south of Kodi since January.

Kundapura Range Forest Officer Prabhakar Kulal told The Hindu every hatchery had 100-110 eggs laid by turtles between January and March. Clean Kundapura initiative, FSL India NGO, other volunteers and the department joined hands to ensure safety of the eggs and hatchlings.

When the volunteers saw eggs hatching and hatchlings coming out of sand pits on Wednesday night, they ensured that the nylon net covering the hatcheries blocked hatchlings’ movement towards the coast and kept the net open only towards the sea. Otherwise, there was every chance of hatchlings moving towards the light emitted by streetlights.

Using torch lights and making paths on the seabed towards the sea, the volunteers ensured that all the hatchlings reached the Arabian Sea. “Hatchlings would be very active for the first two hours of hatching and within that time they should be able to reach the deep sea,” Mr. Kulal said.

Volunteers and department personnel would continue to keep the vigil hereafter as the eggs continue to hatch every night, he added.

No gathering

Dinesh from FSL India said the biggest threat was congregation of enthusiastic general public and clicking pictures/ making videos using flashlight. Flashlight was very dangerous for hatchlings, he said and urged general public not to visit the hatchery sites.

The sites were already declared red zones and except supervising volunteers no one was allowed there. “Yet, we had difficult time in managing the crowd on Wednesday night,” he said.

While FSL India was involved in sea turtle egg protection for over 15 years and so far has facilitated hatching of over 20,000 eggs, the Kodi beach stretch began witnessing more egg laying for two years. This was after Clean Kundapura initiative ensured the beach remained clean, Mr. Dinesh said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 2:43:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/120-sea-turtle-hatchlings-join-the-sea-in-kodi-kundapura/article34100533.ece

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