Posts Tagged ‘conservation of Olive Ridley turtles in chennai
It’s 11:30 P.M, we are at Neelankarai beach. I am with volunteers of Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) to go for the Turtle walks. The Chennai sea coast is a breeding ground for the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.The turtle walks are organised by the SSTCN to increase the chances of survival of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. Student volunteers go in search of their nests at night, retrieve the eggs and take them to a hatchery
The Turtle walks route is a 10 km stretch from Neelankarai to Elliot’s beach
The public are taken along for the walk on Fridays and Saturdays. Arun, one of the organisers giving an intro about Olive Ridley turtles, conservation efforts. We are around 50 of us, all set for the big event.
12:15 A.M, we started off from Neelankarai. During nesting season, from January till April, these turtles come ashore in large numbers, lay eggs in nests and go back to the sea and don’t ever come back to look after the nest or the eggs. Adult turtles return to the shore where they were born, for nesting. When the eggs hatch after 55 days, the hatch-lings make for the sea by instinct as the sea is a brighter source of light than the land. But now with big cities coming up along the shore, the land is brighter than the sea at night. And the hatch-lings start moving inland, where their chances of survival become almost nil. This has been the main cause for their declining numbers. So the process is like this. The SSTCN organises walks during the nesting season to collect the eggs from the nests and put them in a hatchery so that when the hatch-lings come out, they can be safely released into the sea.
This is what we see first, a dead Turtle. Hunt is on for the nests
Almost 20 mins after we see the Turtle trail
The volunteers start searching for the exact position of the nest
With the help of steel rod,they check the place and find the nest
1:30 A.M, collected almost 150 Turtle eggs from the first nest, entire gang, especially the kids, are excited
The Turtle nest is in the shape of a pot — a narrow neck and a wider chamber below, almost 2 ft in depth.
Way to find more nests we see dead fish and crabs full of life!
Around 2A.M we come across the second nest. Eggs are carefully taken out, the nest is measured and then cover up. Second nest has around 45 eggs. Once all the eggs are taken to the hatchery, volunteers digs up a nest that is more or less the same in dimensions as the original nest and carefully puts all the eggs inside. The Turtle walk is still on…
Now the time is 3A.M, fishermen are ready to go for the catch, they will be back by 8A.M
The walk concludes at Elliot’s beach, It is now 4:40 A.M. The volunteers collected almost 400 eggs from 5 nests.
So if you are interested in Turtle walk, please contact http://sstcn.org for more details