March in Orissa was a time for Olive Ridley sea turtle nesting and hatching. At Gahrimatha on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, 17 million expectant mother sea turtles made their way ashore to nest.
Many others had nested earlier along other areas of the beach.
Life is hazardous for the baby turtles who hatch and then dash pell mell towards the sea; only one out of a thousand lives to grow up and become an adult. These slim chances, however, can be increased by the care and attention of groups like APOWA (Action for Protection of Wild Animals).
Many predators lie in wait for the innocent little sea turtles. Then there are the threats of hurricanes and beach erosion. Artificial lights can even cause them to head off in the wrong direction away from the sea.
APOWA’s volunteers have so far rescued 5,000 disoriented baby turtles from the nesting beaches of Siali, Jatadhari and Devi, releasing them safely into the sea, thus giving them a good start in life.
Their Beach Patrols keep an eye on the shores to protect the little turtles from predators and from poaching.
An awareness program teaches people about the endangered turtles, and this helps prevent poaching too.
To read more about the APOWA sea turtle program, click here.
For information on how to donate to help APOWA save thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles, click here.
Photo: Courtesy of APOWA