By Paul Fernandes
PANAJI, India — After nearly two decades of a turtle conservation programme in the state, the forest department has plans to set up an interpretation centre on the theme at Galgibaga for the first time.
Goa's turtle conservation programme was pioneered in the mid-1990s and has continued on a modest scale - unlike Orissa with its Olive Ridley turtle nestings in thousands - on four of its beaches. Agonda and Galgibaga in south Goa and Morjim and Mandrem are designated turtle nesting beaches under CRZ 2011. The first turtle nesting to be protected by NGO activists and forest department jointly was at Morjim in 1996.
"We will set up an interpretation centre at Galgibaga to impart conservation education to the local people and visitors," a forest department official said.
It was a Catholic priest, Fr Mariano Proenca Goes who encouraged turtle nesting on a south Goa beach for the first time after Morjim. "He lived in the parish house adjoining the local church, barely 150 metres from the beach," a source said.
Turtle conservation has enthused a few wildlife activists and they have been taking up the issue against illumination and other disturbances, especially beach parties on nesting sites of the flippered visitors.