On World Turtle Day today, experts put the spotlight on different sea turtle species found in Maharashtra
Leatherback sea turtle
Know your species
Maharashtra is a major nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles, shares Sumedha Korgaonkar, PhD scholar, Wildlife Institute of India. “The last noted sighting of this species in Mumbai was in 1985. Now, they can be found in Velas, Anjarle and Guhagar, where the turtles come to nest during the winter,” she reveals.
Mohan Upadhye, researcher, Mangrove Foundation, and member of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra, Chiplun, tells us, “We got three nests of green sea turtles in Sindhudurg in 2020-21. Before the lockdown, we found one nest in Anjarle and another one in Ratnagiri. Since then, we have kept a watch on every beach and have informed all beach managers to stay alert.”
Hawksbill sea turtle. Representation pics
Harshal Karve, marine biologist, mentions, “India is home to five of the seven existing species in the world. Green sea turtles and Olive Ridleys have fool-proof sightings in Maharashtra. Other species such as leatherbacks and hawksbill have anecdotal ones; they have been found in the waters along the state’s coastline, but there are no official records of nesting sites.”
Green sea turtle
Conservation is key
. Conservation of sea turtles in Maharashtra has many aspects including conserving the nesting habitat, coastal lights, protection of nests from wild predators, inundation during high spring tide, and untimely storms and cyclones.
. Local fishermen should free the turtles stuck in their nets.
. Awareness about coastal projects threatening their nesting habitat should
. Keep the coastline clean and avoid plastic or glass materials around the site.
Olive Ridley turtle. Pic/Satej Shinde
. Participating in preservation programmes by NGOs and the government can help citizens to know more about turtles.
. Sites like snmcpn.org (Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra), wii.gov.in (Wildlife Institute of India) and mangrove-foundation.com (Mangrove Foundation) provide information on the different species found in Maharashtra.
. Turtle festivals conducted under the guidance of experts and state government officials provide a great
opportunity to learn more about