Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple 'arattu' procession to be rerouted to save turtle eggs at Shankhumukham

According to local fishermen and conservationists, the Olive Ridley turtles, which belong to the vulnerable category, have laid eggs at Shankhumukham after a gap of over 30 years.
Image of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram used for representational purposes.
Image of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram used for representational purposes. File photo

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This year’s annual ‘arattu’ procession of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to be held on Sunday at Shankhumukham will see a reroute to safeguard the Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs along the shores of the beach. According to local fishermen and conservationists, the Olive Ridley turtles, which belong to the vulnerable category, have laid eggs at Shankhumukham after a gap of over 30 years.

“The eggs were discovered two weeks back. We informed the forest officers and following their instruction we moved the eggs to a safer location. The hole where the eggs were laid was not very deep and to ensure their safety, we relocated the eggs to an area with minimal human and animal intrusion. If the temperature and weather conditions remain suitable, the eggs are expected to hatch within 41 days,” said Ajith Shankhumukham, a local fisherman and a field officer with The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The local fishermen found around 81 turtle eggs.

The ‘arattu’ ceremony usually takes place in the area where the eggs are safeguarded.

“We approached the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple authorities and aired our concern and they have agreed not to touch the areas where the eggs are located,” said Ajith.

“We have taken measures to safeguard the location by setting up barricades to restrict access,” said Arun, an official with Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust.

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