Chennai: The unique mass nesting of olive ridley turtles, where over thousands of females come together on the beach to lay eggs is a major attraction.
But this year, a lot of them have died due to the massive oil spill and ecological imbalance, say experts.
To spread awareness on this issue, a group of people have come together and have been conducting many programmes under the name of ‘Save a Turtle’. One such campaign, Ridley Run took place earlier this week at Palavakkam Beach in the city.
“We work through the entire coastal stretch of Chennai starting from Marina to Muttukadu. Volunteers are divided for small stretches. Pertaining to the locality, there are two – Neelankarai to Besant Nagar and Neelarai to Injambakkam,” says one of the authorities, Hafiz Khan.
The run at Palavakkam Beach witnessed 2,700 participants who were very enthusiastic to know about the species. To make it interesting, even pets were allowed where people brought dogs, white mice and even fish, it is learnt. There were three categories – one, three and five kilometre.
When asked about the problems this year, Hafiz replied, ”This month it is not supposed to rain as the turtles come to the shore to hatch eggs. The ecological imbalance is damaging the functioning of egg hatching.”
“Night walks are taken every day by the volunteers to collect the eggs and put them into hatchery. They leave the little ones into the sea after 45 days. There are members from around the world. This is the last week for nesting and the hatchery will function till the end of May,” says Yousef, a volunteer from Tunisia.
“We have a baby turtle farewell ceremony everyday in Besant Nagar beach from 5.30 to 6.30 pm where the baby turtles run back into the ocean. This will go on till the end of next month,” explained Hafiz.
They can be contacted at 7338837283.