In a great boost to the morale of conservationists and volunteers who have taken up to cleaning Mumbai’s beaches themselves, Olive Ridley turtles came to nest in the Versova beach after 20 long years. Olive Ridley turtles, or Pacific Ridley turtles(Lepidochelys olivacea) are medium-sized sea turtles abound the warm and tropical sea waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Mumbai’s beaches have been in news for their polluted state as well as for the undying efforts by the team of conservationists, led by lawyer and conservationist Afroz Shah, who has been cleaning the Versova beach for the past few years. It was these conservationists who discovered the newly hatched turtles walking back to the sea on Thursday, a surreal and life-changing experience for those who witnessed the event. The group of volunteers along with Mr Afroz Shah noticed the 80 odd hatchlings making the journey of their first walk to the sea, and alerted the forest officials so that their precious charges made that journey without any hindrance. They were informed that this phenomenon is occurring in a Mumbai beach after 20 years. “We haven’t noticed any nesting of turtles on Versova beach in the last several years. They normally lay eggs in places they feel safe and secure” remarked N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forests. He conjectured that there is a possibility that the adult female Olive Ridley turtles returned to nest at their own birthplace. There is some sporadic nesting of the turtles in some of the coastal areas of Maharashtra, especially in Ratnagiri, Palghar and Raigad over the years, but Mumbai saw its own cycle of birthing after a 20 years long wait. Incidentally, an Olive Ridley turtle was rescued from Juhu beach last July and rushed to a veterinary clinic by animal activists.
— As reported by News18
Cover Pic : A representative picture of Olive Ridley turtles crawling across the beach | News18