The State government on Friday issued orders to set up a turtle conservation and rehabilitation centre in Chennai at a cost of ₹6.30 crore.
The centre will have state-of-the-art facilities to promote conservation, research, data collection and to create awareness about saving turtles, according to an order issued by Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forests Department.
Turtle habitats, which an integral part of the marine ecosystem, require urgent attention., the order said. The government will set up a rescue facility to treat injured turtles and an intelligence network to collect information with the help of Tamil Nadu Forests and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to curb poaching.
A special strategy will be devised to involve fisher folk as turtle guards. Efforts will be made to educate and empower local communities about the importance of turtle conservation. The government, in its order, said it will collaborate and coordinate with district administration, municipal authorities, local bodies and exchange information with national and international agencies working in turtle conservation.
The government has decided to monitor water quality to prevent land-based and maritime pollution, assess adverse impacts of coastal and marine development, and identify areas of critical habitat. Invasive species at important nesting beaches and debris that impede turtle nesting will be removed. An integrated and collaborative approach will be adopted involving all stakeholders for effective implementation of the strategy.