Encouraged by the increase in the number of Olive Ridley turtles, steps are being taken to extend their conservation along the entire Vizag coast covering a stretch of about 70 km, following the completion of a baseline survey. The survey covering around 30 km beach stretch is already over and shows that the secluded beaches with the scarce footfall of people could become a safe haven for the endangered species. The entire Visakhapatnam coast is about 126 km in length, according to various satellite images taken over the years. Appi konda, Atchutapuram, Nakkapalli, Payakaraopet are some of the beach stretches where conservation efforts could be taken up.
The survey work has been assigned to the Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA), known for its pioneering work in the conservation of Olive Ridley turtles in Vizag. Speaking to Hello Vizag, the founder of VSPCA, Pradeep Kumar Nath, said building hatcheries outside the natural habitat method was done in a limited stretch and populated area earlier. And, it has shown results. The active involvement of the forest department has helped a lot. The drastic increase in the number of Olive Ridley coming to the shore and hatchlings being released speaks volumes about the success of the conservation method,” said the Founder of VSPCA, Pradeep Kumar Nath.
Vizag beach is a safe haven for the turtles as there is not much humane disturbance. Such secluded beaches are best for mating and nesting of the turtles. Even the in-situ conservation where hatcheries are not required is also possible,” he explained. Hatchlings to be released at Jodugullapalem beach. The forest department which has taken up the Olive Ridley conservation work with the help of NTPC will release the hatchlings born at the Jodugullapalem hatcheries on Wednesday from the morning. The process of releasing hatchlings of Olive Ridley to the sea began from the third week of March and will last till May.
Participation from the community has indeed played an active role in the conservation project by ensuring security during hatching external threats. As a part of the corporate social responsibility, NTPC Simhadri with the support of the forest department in aligning the resources for the critical activity resulted in an increase in the number of hatchlings being released into the sea.
On Wednesday around 350 hatchlings were released into the sea from the Jodugullapalem hatchery. Close to 5,000 hatchlings have been released into the sea till now. Project supervisor and Forest department’s strike force protection watcher I Jagadeesh said, “Inspite of the many developmental activities, Vizag is considered one of the best nesting spots for Olive Ridley Turtles due to the city’s climate, vast coastline and clean sand.”
Undoubtedly, Vizag is favoured by the sea turtles for nesting, he said, while releasing the hatchlings in the sea on Wednesday morning. Once the eggs hatch, the guards (fisherman) ensure the beach is clear of birds and dogs and then release the hatchlings into the sea. “The hatchlings are weak when they are born, but they have a magnetic orientation towards the sea,” Jagadesh explained. “We ensure that no one disturbs the sea turtles during nesting till they start laying eggs,” M Srinivas, a hatchery guard at Jodgullapalem beach, said. The forest officials ensure that the area around the nesting spots are clean and on a regular basis, clean the plastic rubbish and chemical waste on the beach daily,” he said.