The Hindu , 19 April 2006

More Olive Ridley nests saved this season

CHENNAI: Sea turtle conservationists in the suburbs were happy at being able to save more Olive Ridley nests this season. They also released a large number of hatchlings into the water.

Various factors contributed to the better protection of nests this season, including increased patrolling both by forest officials and volunteers of the Kadal Aamai Padhukavalargal Sangam.

Supraja Dharini, founder of TREE Foundation, said significantly the nesting sites in Nainar Kuppam, Uthandi and Pannaiyur were found in areas shrouded in darkness. The organisation protected a total of 82 nests and kept track of 13 in situ nests during the season. Supraja Dharini said the in situ nests were missed during patrolling. They were later located and instead of relocating the eggs from the nests they were hatched on the shore, she said. In March, the volunteers released 368 hatchlings from Peria Neelangarai, 1,138 from Injambakkam, 1,287 from Panayur, 1,371 from Nainarkuppam and 520 from Reddy Kuppam into the sea. This month, so far the volunteers of the Sangam released 1,382 hatchlings.

As part of their efforts, the Chennai Wildlife authorities put up awareness boards in Tamil and English on sea turtle conservation at Injambakkam, Panayur and Nainarkuppam. Some more hatchlings are yet to be released into the waters. The exercise could be completed by the end of this month, said Supraja Dharini.