Sea Turtle Conservation
In 2002, TREE Foundation became aware of the need for a community-based sea turtle conservation program having learned that since the 1970s there has been a 90% reduction in the number of Olive Ridleys (vulnerable) nesting along coastal areas.
Juvenile hawksbills (critically endangered) along with juvenile and sub-adult green turtles (endangered) also forage in the region.
There is a continuous need to protect local Ridley nesting sites and, offshore, adult Ridley turtles migrating to and from to the mass nesting beaches of Odisha in north east India.
It is also vital that fishery related mortality of sea turtles be further reduced. Continuing our existing program and actively encouraging marginalized artisanal fishers’ participation and building a sense of stakeholder stewardship along the east coast conservation area, will help to ensure the programs sustainability and protect nesting, foraging and migrating turtles and associated habitats.
By conducting inclusive and practical programs and providing hope for the future, we have witnessed great changes within the communities that are touched by our programs and work. Women and girls are also participating in hatchling safety/release and participate in the activities of TREE Foundation. For example, children no longer use sea turtle eggs as ‘cricket balls’, communities now welcome nesting turtles instead of viewing them as a nuisance or bad omen, fishers understand what makes ecologically healthy oceans and the issue of both marine and terrestrial pollution is now front and centre in many peoples minds.
Placing hatchlings in the basket and releasing them at the shore
Nesting Turtle Video
The TREE Foundations conservation programs overarching goal is to reduce sea turtle mortality caused by both poaching and fisheries by-catch.
“Three species of turtles have been recorded foraging offshore with Olive Ridleys both breeding and nesting along the east coast ofIndia.. TREE Foundation conducts important awareness programs and has ensured community participation in turtle conservation. The Foundation works to instill a sense of stewardship among all stakeholders in order to effect policy in all the conservation areas. During all programs, regional threats to turtles are highlighted and clearly illustrated. To reduce mortality of turtles as by-catch in fisheries through gear management it is critical for policy makers, enforcement agencies and community to become both aware and involved.”