Sujit Sundaram, James NJ and Abdul Salee
Green Habitat, Pavaratty P.O, Thrissur District., Kerala, Pin – 680507.
Email – [email protected]
Knowledge on the nesting of olive ridley turtle, Lepidochelys olivacea along the west coast of India is scanty. Along Kerala coast not many studies have been carried out on the nesting and hatching behavior. Hence an attempt was made to study and observe its nesting habits from Chavakkad, Kerala, India. Olive ridley turtles are categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, hence the study gains more importance. In pursuance of this study, every year during the nesting season in this area, i.e. from November to March, periodically walking trips in the night hours were made along the coast from 1988-99 onwards. Olive ridleys usually nest in this belt such as Panchavadi, Edakkazhiyur and Akalad beaches in Chavakkad. To prevent predation from animals and humans, the eggs of the turtles were transplanted by the volunteers of Green Habitat, an NGO committed to the conservation of turtles, to a permanent hatchery. The total number of nests at Chavakkad beach ranged from one (1998-09) to ten (2017-18) during the breeding season over the years. The clutch size varied from 47 to 135 eggs during the observation period. After about 45-50 days the eggs hatched. Local people, fishermen, students etc. were invited on the release date and the hatchlings were released in to the sea. The number of eggs hatched during the study period was between 41 in 1998-09 to 490 in 2017-18. The Green Habitat has successfully protected 44 nests and ensured the safe release of 2,306 hatchlings into the sea till date.