SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION IN EGREE REGION
❆ Sea Turtle are amongst the most ancient reptiles inhabiting the planet earth. It is believed that the first sea turtle evolved 24.5 crore (245 millions) years ago during Triassic Period. They are enigmatic and graceful wanderers, migrating immense distances (over 20,000 km) over the oceans in search of food and favorable habitat for nesting.
❆ There are the seven species of marine turtles found globally, five occur in Indian Territory. Marine turtles are given an important place in the cultural traditions of the coastal states of India where they occur. The five marine turtle species that are found in India include Olive Ridley Turtle, Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle and Leatherback Turtle.
❆ All five species are included in Schedule-I, Part-II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 thereby accorded the highest degree of protection under the law. Hunting of these turtles or damaging their eggs is strictly prohibited.
SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION EFFORTS IN EGREE
Among all sea turtles, the Olive Ridley is the commonest along the Indian Coast. Olive Ridley Turtles nest along the coasts of India, with major mass nesting beaches in Orissa. The coast of Andhra Pradesh, the state immediately south of Orissa, has sporadic nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles and is believed to form part of the migratory route of the turtles that nest in Orissa.
In Andhra Pradesh, the East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem (EGREE) is one of the important nesting places for the Olive Ridley Turtles. The main nesting sites are Sacramento Island, Hope Island & Uppada (Ellaiapet). A detailed survey carried out by the local Forest Department during 2010 nesting season revealed that most of the turtle nests are destroyed by the jackals, domestic dogs, wild boars and human beings. Since then management measures are being undertaken for the conservation of the nesting turtles. During the nesting season between January and June, special camps are being established in all the three areas and more than 25 local community people are engaged for supporting forest officials to protect the nests through in-situ and ex-situ methods.
IN-SITU & EX-SITU CONSERVATION:
Under Ex-situ conservation eggs are collected from the nests, which are vulnerable to the coastal erosion and predators, and protected in the hatcheries. These hatcheries are established about 60-70 m from the high-tide line and at slightly higher elevation so that they are not inundated by high tides and protected from the predators.
Totally 3,509 nests were protected and a total of 3,78,260 hatchlings were released successfully from 2011 to 2015. See More