I grew up in Chennai and worked with the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network in the mid ’90s. It’s nice to see an article on them in the city’s biggest newspaper.
CHENNAI: Scores of newborn Olive Ridley turtles entered their natural habitat — the sea — under the watchful eyes of conservationists at Elliots Beach, Besant Nagar, here early on Sunday. Conservationists said nearly 75 eggs hatched on Sunday alone and most of the young ones were safely released into the waters. But about 25 eggs reportedly did not hatch and some were stillborn. Volunteers of the Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) annually collect Olive Ridley turtle eggs from the Besant Nagar coastline upto Neelankarai, a fishing village beyond Tiruvanmiyur. The eggs are then taken to a hatchery at Oorurkuppam, a fishing village located behind the Theosophical Society premises. It takes 45 days for the young ones to hatch.
In Chennai, and most of South India, the adult sea turtles are not poached, only the eggs. Also, it is not possible to just secure the nest with “do not poach” notice! So the eggs need to be relocated to a hatchery where they’re re-buried. For more on sea turtle “management” in India, I would suggest visiting Kartik Shanker’s excellent website.