‘Keep beach clean for nesting Ridleys’

With the peak season for the nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles around the corner, the Forest Department has been conducting awareness campaigns to ensure that people visiting the beach, especially during Kaanum Pongal, keep it clean
‘Keep beach clean for nesting Ridleys’
Volunteers cleaning up the beach

Chennai

The beaches of the city are a popular destination during Kaanum Pongal, where thousands of families visit the shore and celebrate the festival. To ensure that the beaches are kept clean, the Forest Department has been conducting a series of awareness campaigns. Dr. S. David Raj, Forest Range Officer, said, “We have conducted awareness sessions among fishermen living around the area as well as the school and college students, local public and corporate employees. 
The Olive Ridley sea turtle is a very sensitive animal. Once they sense large crowds, they stay away. More mother turtles will start arriving after Kaanum Pongal. We are also planning clean-up activities with the help of NGOs and other volunteers.” 
Hafiz Khan, who is behind Turtle Talks, said that people should start caring for the beaches. Having conducted regular beach cleanup sessions in the past few weeks, Hafiz added, “I request the public to keep the seashore clean, so that the mother turtle can peacefully undergo her nesting process. If the beach is littered, it becomes difficult for the mother to identify a neat stretch to lay her eggs. 
We have been trying to sensitise people on this subject. We have had more volunteers interested in turtle conservation but we need more college students to participate.”  Shravan Krishnan, who is a part of the Student’s Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN), has been involved with Olive Ridley conservation over the past few years. He pointed out, “The beach has always been dirty. 
Every year, the trash tends to increase during this time of the year, because more people visit the beach and end up littering the shore. The plastic garbage, especially, is a threat. We have seen turtles nesting amidst the plastic trash, because they cannot find a neat stretch. We will continue with our clean up sessions to ensure a safe environment for the nesting mother turtles.”
Turtle Facts
  • No. of baby turtles released in the past 
                 2014-2015  -       11,521
                 2013-2014  -        8,834
  • 3 Hatcheries created in 2015 (2 in Besant Nagar and 1 in Foreshore)
  • No of eggs collected - 457

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