CHENNAI, India — The Tamil Nadu forest department will take up a survey of the state's coastline from January to draw up a plan for the conservation of sea turtles.
At a day-long training session on Tuesday, officials were briefed on a project to save the endangered sea creatures.
"Olive Ridley turtles nest all along the coast of all eight coastal districts in Tamil Nadu, with large numbers heading to Nagapattinam and islands in the Gulf of Mannar," said a senior forest department official. "We are going to draw up an action plan to protect the turtles."
Conservationists said they have presented a proposal to save turtles that the government has agreed to in principal.
"We suggested that the department conduct a survey of the coastline in the first year. The survey will identify important nesting grounds and potential stretches as well as hindrances to nesting. Once this is done, we will know what to focus on," said V Arun, of Student Sea Turtle Conservation Network, who was involved in drafting the action plan.
Increased urbanisation along the coastline and commercial fishing trawlers have taken a severe toll on the Olive Ridley turtles that nest on the shores of Tamil Nadu. Forest officials said the situation has become so precarious that they decided to take immediate action to save the endangered species. The survey is likely to start in January, when the nesting season starts.
Experts have suggested in-situ conservation for the next year. "In-situ conservation is protecting beaches from poachers and predators. Hatchlings have a better survival rate if nests are untouched," Arun said.