The Hindu , 03 January 2006

Keeping vigil for the turtles

CHENNAI : The wildlife authorities intend patrolling the beachfront between Besant Nagar to Neelankarai to protect Olive Ridleys that come ashore for nesting.

According to a senior officer, about 10 men would be posted on duty on the stretch during night hours.

The wildlife wing would also harness the assistance of the Fisheries department and the local panchayat. Awareness programmes would be conducted for them and local fishermen.

The numerous lights near the shore pose problems for the hatching turtles. The authorities would request residents to provide a shade around the lamps so that the turtles both the female and the off-springs could get back into the waters instead of straying towards the shoreline. Complaints of eggs being removed and sold have come to the notice of the authorities. Poaching of eggs would be viewed seriously and the patrolling would help in reducing such offences, the authorities said.

Awareness among coastal communities, would be created , the officer said. Similarly, local fishermen would be educated to protect nesting.

So far, two cases of turtle deaths were reported along the shorefront last week.