Visakhapatnam: Amala Akkineni, actress and chairperson of Blue Cross, released tiny Olive Ridley turtles hatchlings into Bay of Bengal, from a hatchery on Ramakrishna Beach, here on Thursday, while Collector N Yuvaraj, Additional Principal Conservator of Forests R G Kalaghatgi and Additional PCCF Pratheep Kumar also helped her in the process.
As they were released before dawn, the tiny ones crawled into the blue waters covered some distance into the sea before daybreak to help them protect from their predators.The long journey of the Olive Ridley turtles which began to return to the beaches of the Eastern coast to lay their eggs faced problems with trawlers and fishing boats and were more effected by human disturbances at the beach.
The extensive loss of beach due to the severe erosion holds to be one of the reasons. The turtles spot for nesting in the darkness while they are threatened by human disturbances and unfavorable environmental conditions. Amala Akkineni said the dwindling numbers of the turtle eggs is a worrying factor and development on the coast should be restricted. "The development at the coast should be only to a certain extent” she added The Forest Department has set up two hatcheries at R K Beach and at Jodugullapalem and the volunteers are keeping guard of the hatcheries and all the hatchlings will be released in a month’s time.
The enclosed hatchery protects the eggs from dogs and visitors who are unaware of the eggs. Surprisingly, the Olive Ridley Turtles take over 25 years to reach adulthood but the survival rate of the young ones is quite low. Researchers and environmentalists say that R K Beach being a big tourist spot is always surrounded by visitors and hampers turtles from laying eggs and resulting in the lowering of the fecundity rate (number of eggs laid at a time). Also fewer turtles are returning to nest every year.