Canara Green Academy
#163, Sri Krishna Shree Vananagara
Hubli Road, Sirsi, Karnataka – 581402. India.


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At dawn on May, 17, 2006, N.D. Bhat, Shankar Hegde and I gathered at Gangavali village near Honavara, North Karnataka to release an olive ridley and a green turtle into the wild. We were joined by Anand Udar, Range Forest Officer, Hiregutti. The green turtle had been caught as incidental catch by a fisherman in Gangavali about a year and a half prior to this day.

Turtles in these parts are revered and worshipped as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and hence most fishermen do intentionally not kill or harm them. However, they are often caught as by-catch in fishing nets; unless the nets are recovered on the same day, the turtles die. This turtle was very fortunate that it was recovered on the same day from the net, and hence it was alive. The olive ridley hatchling was obtained from a relocated nest and brought up at the Gangavali Turtle Breeding Centre. The breeding centre was developed by Anand Udar and maintained by Gulabi Tandel and her family, changing the water periodically and feeding them with fish.

Anand Udar, N.D. Bhat, Shankar Hegde, the Tandel family and I watched along with dozens of curious locals as the turtles moved seawards. On reaching the tidal area, Gulabi Tandel approached the turtles, put her hand on their carapaces and said, “Both of you take care”. As both the turtles disappeared into the sea, we could only hope they overcome the many hurdles that they have to face and return to nest at Gangavali and produce a new generation of hatchlings.



Naithal (Coastal Information Conservation and Action) Reg No. 814/03
Thaikadappuram P.O., Nileshwaram Via, Kasaragod Dist., Kerala – 671314

Email : sudheer_nlr

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Olive ridley turtles nest along the northern coast of Kerala from September-March. Naithal was established in 2001 and is involved in sea turtle conservation. The project area covers 15 km of the coastal belt of Kanhangad Municipality, Nileshwar Grama Panchayat and Padanna Grama Panchayat of Kasaragod District of Kerala. The eggs that are laid are collected and hatched at hatcheries constructed with the support of the Kerala Forest Department. The project has been undertaken with the support and co-operation of the Department of Forests and Wildlife.

In Kerala, such a participatory conservation project is undertaken only at Thaikadappuram (Nileshwaram) of Kasargod District and Kolavi of Calicut District. The project intends to instill the need and importance of protecting sea turtles among the people, who were formerly using turtle eggs for food. The project also intends to involve the public in conservation activities. The Environment Monitoring Forum, Cochin conferred the P.V. Thampi Memorial Environmental Award on Naithal in 2004 in recognition of our turtle conservation project.

In addition, Naithal has conducted a study on solid waste deposits and encroachment of Nileshwaram River and the report has been handed over to the Nileshwar Grama Panchayat. Naithal members were in the forefront of the fight against the burning issue of aerial spraying of Endosulfan in Kasaragod District. School children of the area, under the banner ‘Naithal Kids’ are also contributing to conservation activities in these areas.

Table 1: Relocation of sea turtle nests by Naithal from 2002 to 2007

Year Number of Nests Number of eggs collected Number of hatchlings
2002 – 03 12 1,548 927
2003 – 04 26 3,216 1,853
2004 – 05 21 2,913 2,514
2005 – 06 24 3,119 2,817
2006 – 07 21 2,518 880 (out of 8 nests)