Marine Turtles: Conservation Efforts

Although all the five species of sea turtles occurring in India, including the Olive Ridley turtles, are legally protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Appendix I of the CITES Convention which prohibits trade in turtle products, theft of eggs cannot be stopped without public awareness and realization.

That is the mammoth task which was taken up by a small NGO in Chiplun- Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) along with the forest department and the local Panchayat in 2002 in Velas village. The very first year they were successful in saving 50 nests and releasing over 2734 baby olive ridley turtles into the sea.

Read more about Turtle Conservation program from Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra 

The modus operandi was simple yet effective

- They would guard the beach in wee hours of morning to identify the location of the nests - These nests would then be shifted to a Hatchery which was a protected area - After watching over the nests throughout incubation period. The hatchlings were then released to the sea. - For tourists, it’s a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to watch baby turtles hatch and march into the ocean.

The most critical part was to get the villagers on their side. SNM managed that successfully with the forest department and panchayat with great conceptualization that managed two things

  • Creating awareness about the importance of marine turtles in the locals
  • Using this conservation as a tourism opportunity so that villagers can benefit and earn money with homestay options.

More details and contacts for Anjarle Turtle Festival from Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra