O is for Oliver Ridley Turtles #BlogchatterA2Z

Chennai and the Sea are synonymous with each other. On one hand the Sea brought the city the terrible Tsunami and on the other hand it brings gifts that are precious. The Beaches of Chennai are one such gift. Yes, this city has more than a dozen of them. The other precious gift shared by the Sea is – Oliver Ridley Turtles.

Oliver-Ridley-Chennai-Sirimiri
Image Courtesy : Pixabay

What are Oliver Ridley Turtles?

Oliver Ridley Turtles are Sea Turtles, their Scientific Name being. Lepidochelys Olivacea. They get their name due to the colour of their shell, which is a shade of Olive Green.

Why Oliver Ridley Turtles are important:

Sea Turtles are an important part of Marine Ecosystems and help maintain the health of Coral Reefs and Sea Grass Beds.

This endangered species nest in a chosen number of places, few and far in between. Any disturbance to even one nest on the beach could have repercussions on the entire population. These Turtles are usually found in the Mesoamerican Reef, Coastal East Africa, Gulf of California and the Coral Triangle.

The Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) is a voluntary organisation and are doing a wonderful job to help conserve this endangered species.

Isn’t it fortunate that the Oliver Ridley turtles have chosen the Beaches of Chennai to nest on?

Every year, between January and April, these Turtles lay their eggs on the beaches. They 7 km long stretch, from Neelangarai Beach to Besant Nagar Beach seems to be their favoured spot.

The SSTCN Team patrols the Beaches every night during this period looking for turtle eggs, which they collect and relocate to a safe place. When the Oliver Ridley Turtle Hatchlings emerge 45 days later, they are safely released into the Sea.

A Turtle Walk is organised by SSTCN, and you could register with them to attend it.

Please note: This is not a recreational walk you should do ‘for fun’. The people at SSTCN are putting in serious and selfless effort to help the environment and the rapidly dwindling Turtle Population. All 7 species of the Turtle are critically endangered and Team SSTCN is trying their best to change that. 

What happens on a Turtle Walk?

The group meets at 11 pm and starts the walk, looking for Turtle Eggs. Sometimes you get lucky and spot them, and at other times you don’t spot a single one. There is no predefined time for a walk to end, it could end at 2 am or at 6 am. If you meet for a Hatching Season Walk, you could see the newly hatched Turtles being guided into the Sea. As you walk along you learn more about these Turtles from the details shared.

By the time I found out about this amazing initiative and walk, the nesting season was over and there were to be no more nests to be found. However, I am so glad I now know of Oliver Ridley Turtles and the Turtle Walk and I hope to attend next year.

Written for the theme

My A to Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsiders Eye

AtoZ-Chennai-Sirimiri

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18 thoughts on “O is for Oliver Ridley Turtles #BlogchatterA2Z

  1. Had no idea about the turtle walks. But I must appreciate the kind of work that this volunteer group is doing to save the endangered species. Must say that the walk sounds like something done for a noble cause.

  2. One of my friends used to go on turtle walks along the beaches. He used to work with me and I have heard quite a bit about how much he enjoyed these walks. His name was Subramanyam and he was one of those maverick people who would never conform to norms. He used to work on the administrative section of my office but eventually, he completed his M.Sc in wildlife and completely devoted his time to animals. I lost touch with him. This is a wonderful article bringing us the details of an endangered species and to me it brings back some personal memories too.

  3. The turtle walk sounds interesting. I remember seeing big turtles at Pondicherry beach and we were fascinated at how beautiful they looked. Good to know about the efforts of SSTCN.

  4. That’s wonderful Mayuri. I’m so glad you’re choosing to talk about important topics like conservation through your blog- it’s the need of the hour. I’m also glad you’re telling us about the offbeat things one can do in Chennai, like the turtle walk 🙂

  5. I never knew about this, would love to visit this place and SSTCN is doing a great job by contributing through this initiative to save the endangered species.

  6. I have watched documentaries on Oliver Ridley Turtles. Wasn’t aware of the Turtle Walk and the work done by SSTCN to conserve this endangered species. Thanks for the insights, Mayuri. Hope you get to be a part of the Turtle Walk next year!!

  7. Truly commendable work by SSTCN, I must say. These turtle walks would be interesting no doubt but I feel they’ll also help inculcate responsibility in normal citizens to do their bit for the endangered oliver ridley turtles. I hope you attend next year and share some first-hand experience with us, M.

  8. It is great to know that the student organisation are doing such a fab job. We collectively can take the right steps towards conservation of our eco-system. I had seen a documentary on this and your pics remind me of that.

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