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Rs.6 .30 crore allocated for Tamil Nadu’s first turtle conservation centre in Chennai

Indian Coast Guard personnel saving a Olive Ridley turtle entangled in net (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@Def_PRO_Chennai)

With the aim of protecting turtles, the Tamil Nadu Government has allocated Rs.6.30 crore for establishing a conservation and rehabilitation centre in Chennai. This will be the first such centre in the State, and will be located at Guindy Children’s Park, as per the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forests.

The state-of-the-art centre will be a collaborative effort as it will involve the local communities in its work and have in-house treatment facilities for the injured animals. Sharing details with the media, Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment said: “The Centre will have facilities like turtle pool and turtle shed in addition to medical facilities for the rehabilitation of rescued turtles. It will act as a temporary home to sick and injured turtles before they are released back to their natural habitat.”

She went on to add: “Every year during nesting season, several Olive Ridley turtles get hit by fishing boat engines and their flippers get damaged as they get entangled in nets. Hitherto, we didn’t have any facility to shelter and treat these turtles. They have to either fend for themselves or die a painful death. We are trying to address this gap.”

The Centre will also create awareness among people about conservation. The State which has a long coastline plays host to five different species of marine turtles. These are Green, Leatherback, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles. The Olive Ridley turtles generally nest along the coast.

Besides treating the injured turtles, the Centre will also play the role of a knowledge hub. The project includes mapping of turtle migratory routes using conventional flipper tagging and satellite telemetry and monitoring of their population at vital nesting and foraging sites will be done.

It was last year in April that the State Government had announced setting up of this Centre. Funded by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the project will be implemented by the Chief Wildlife Warden.