A fresh batch of Olive Ridley Sea turtles were released into sea off the coast of Suryalanka near Bapatla and Nizampatnam in Guntur district, blazing a new trail in Olive Ridley turtle conservation.
Earlier, nesting of Olive Ridley turtles used to be done under the directions of Eluru WildLife division, but this year, the Forest wing of Guntur district had done the job.
“Under the careful supervision of the Forest Department, our watchers in Suryalanka and in Bapatla have released 1,237 hatchlings into the sea early this morning at dawn, marking a new chapter in the history of wildlife division in the district. We have counted 5,615 eggs, and we thank the forest watchers who have been guarding and ensuring that hatchlings are released safely into the sea,” District Forest Officer, N. Ramachandra Rao told The Hindu on Saturday.
Conversation of Olive Ridley Turtles, an endangered species and a vital link in sea ecosystem, is always challenging as the nesting takes place without any parental care. The turtles lay their eggs on the beach, which are vulnerable to predatory attacks and human intervention. The forest watchers ensure that nesting takes place in near perfect condition. Pits are dug up in which the eggs are placed in a medium of wet sand and dry sand. Bamboo trenches are erected around the pits and it usually takes 45 to 60 days for the hatchlings to emerge.
The release of hatchlings also takes place around dawn as any slight increase in temperature could harm them, so the watchers prefer dawn or late night to release the turtles. The hatchlings are collected in a sack and are released on the beach, as it enables them to crawl on the sand before slowly entering the sea. Care is also taken to release the hatchlings in high tide areas.
“This enables the hatchlings not to lose energy while swimming in sea at once,” says Mr. Ramachandra Rao.