VISAKHAPATNAM : Chairperson of Blue Cross Society and actress Akkineni Amala along with district collector N Yuvraj released around 5,430 baby Olive Ridleys into the sea here Thursday morning. Youngsters from various organisations, volunteers from NGOs and officials from the Forest Department were present.
Speaking on the occasion, Amala stressed the need to protect Ridley eggs on the shores, as a large number of turtle eggs are trampled by people and devoured by dogs. She also mentioned that individuals along with local NGOs should take it as a responsibility to conserve the species.
“Visakhapatnam beach might be a tourist getaway, but tourists should also have concern for the safety of such small aquatic species,” she said. More Olive Ridleys die due to trawlers and fishing boats. “Even the lights on the shore confuse them and they are more affected by human disturbances at the beach,” she added.
The hatchlings crawled into the waters and rode on the receding waves to make their first entry into the sea. Amala and Yuvraj watched with amazement and concern when they helped a few hatchlings which turned upside down when they were released into the sea from baskets.
The forest officials said that the first batch hatched successfully after the incubation period of 45 to 60 days and the rest of the hatchlings will be released into the sea shortly. They also said that the extensive beach erosion was one of the reasons for the death of Ridleys. The turtles are spotted for nesting in the darkness but they are threatened by human disturbances and unfavourable environmental conditions.
The Forest Department has set up two hatcheries at RK Beach and at Jodugullapalem for the protection of Ridley eggs.
The enclosed hatchery protects the eggs from dogs and visitors who are unaware of the eggs. The forest officials said that there were 32 centres for the conservation of turtles from Srikakulam district to Nellore. They also mentioned that around 2,61,952 eggs had been protected and 71,268 baby Ridleys were released into the sea till now. Meanwhile, Yuvaraj said that from Jodugulapalem and RK Beach around 12,000 eggs had been preserved and 5,430 hatchlings were released into sea here Thursday.