By Karthikeyan Hemalatha
CHENNAI, India — After a lull in 2012, Olive Ridley turtles that nest along the coast between January and March seem to have made a come back. On Thursday night, volunteers from Student Sea Turtle Conservation Network found 14 nests from Neelanakarai in the south to Napiers Bridge in the north. While four were found between Neelankarai and Urur Kuppam, ten found from Srinivasapuram to Napier Bridge. "All the nests on the Marina stretch were found after the light house," said Nishanth, a volunteer.
This year has also been marred with the death of more than 110 deaths since January. "More deaths also means more turtles are near our shores," said V Arun, a coordinator. In 2012, SSTCN volunteers found 120 nests and released around 10,000 hatchlings. This year, 130 nests have already been found and relocated.
The year 2011 was a bumper year, with the group finding one of the highest numbers of nests in a decade. More 14,000 hatchlings were released from 183 nests. Olive RIdleys are classified as Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, giving them a equal conservation status as tigers.