RAJKOT, India — The forest department with the help of local wildlife conservationists released Olive Ridley Turtles and Green Sea Turtles into the sea near Chanchbandar in Rajula taluka of Amreli district.
According to officials, Olive Ridley Turtles and Green Sea Turtles are known to nest along the Saurashtra coast. Considering the threats and steep decline in natural population of sea turtles, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put them in the globally endangered species' list and in India they are put in the Schedule 1 category of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, extending them highest degree of protection by law.
"Forest department in association with local volunteers released 130 Olive Ridley Turtles and 110 Green Sea Turtles into the sea. The eggs were successfully hatched at the protection site where sea turtles lay the eggs," said Vipul Laheri, honorary wildlife warden, Amreli district.
"In order to provide protection from predators, the nesting area is covered with net and forest department has deputed a person to protect the nests. The activity was initiated in 2003 to protect and release the sea turtles into the sea after the breeding seasons," Laheri added.
According to I R Gadhvi, head of marine science department, Bhavnagar University, Olive Ridley Turtles and Green Sea Turtles are found across the Saurashtra coast. "Sea turtles are mostly found in sandy beaches for breeding along the coast. These beaches and sand dunes attract females of two sea turtle species - Green Sea Turtle and Olive Ridley Turtle - to nest. These species started arriving at the coast in the end of July," Gadhvi said.
"The protection of the nesting sites is important for successful hatching of eggs. People use to eat eggs of the sea turtles as well. But awareness among the people can save these species," said Laheri.
Wildlife conservationists say that sand mining in some parts of the Saurashtra region also poses a threat to sea turtles.