Punarjani to take up rescue of Olive Ridley turtles in Kerala

While the major nesting sites of Olive Ridley turtles are well identified and managed, sites where turtles make sporadic visits are often overlooked.

Published: 16th April 2021 06:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2021 03:55 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Olive Ridley turtles make a sporadic visit to the shores of Chillakkal, Pozhikkara and Mukkam beaches in Paravur coast in Kollam for laying eggs during the breeding months from January to April because of the absence of seawall. While the major nesting sites of Olive Ridley turtles are well identified and managed, sites where turtles make sporadic visits are often overlooked.

Aimed at conservation of the nesting sites of these turtles Thiruvananthapuram-based NGO Travancore Nature History Society (TNHS) in association with the Social Forestry wing have launched the ‘Punarjani’ project.According to Kalesh Sadasivan, research associate, TNHS, it was last year during the lockdown period that the project was conceived and it was decided to implement the project at Chillakkal beach, which was one of the sporadic nesting sites of the Olive Ridley turtles. However, the project got delayed due to the pandemic.

“Last month, the volunteers of TNHS and Social Forestry Wing of the department held a gathering to focus on the role played by the Olive Ridley turtles on the economy of the fishermen community. Following the meeting, an on-the spot inspection of the existing egg-laying areas of Chillakkal beach, Mukkam beach and other areas where turtles had made pits were identified and barbed enclosures were installed,” shares Kalesh.

The local residents from the fishermen community and the school children were also educated on the need to protect the turtles. Hoardings were also put to ward off miscreants.  “With the help of the local residents and volunteers, the first batch of 62 hatchlings were recently released into the sea,” said the TNHS member. The members are currently awaiting the hatching of the next batch of eggs.

Though the Olive Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) outnumbers all other species of turtles in terms of numbers visiting the Indian shore, massive nesting sites are not recognised in the western coast of India when compared to the eastern coast. In Kerala, it is found that the northern Kerala shores receive the highest number of these turtles while the number decreases when you move down to the South.


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