This may ring in good news for environmentalists and nature lovers.
This year, Goa played host to around 90 sea turtle nests, wherein 9974 numbers of eggs were laid and 8645 hatchlings were successfully released in the sea.
And, to further strengthen the protection of Marine Biodiversity, the Forest Department has recently constituted two Marine Ranges, in North and South Goa respectively. Sea turtle nesting and habitat management plans are also in place, informed Goa Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Rajiv Gupta, IFS.
Addressing participants at a workshop on the occasion of World Sea Turtle Day, Gupta said sea turtles play an important part in the habitats they live in. “They feed on jellyfishes, seagrasses and sponges which help to maintain balance in the marine eco-system. They also play a significant role in maintaining the sandy coastal eco-system and dune stabilisation. Turtles are also an important source of income for coastal residents through beach eco-tourism.”
On the occasion, Gupta appealed to the students and teachers to spread the word about sea turtle conservation in the community as turtles deserve a free and better life. “The sea turtle lives in a vast marine eco-system of the sea which covers more than 70 per cent of space on earth and contributes to 75 per cent oxygen demand of the world with natural resources like food, fuel, minerals, etc.
Sea turtles are a “keystone species”, as they are an important part of their environment and influence other species around them,” he added.
He said the Goa Forest Department in association with organisations such as Reefwatch, Drishti and Terra Conscious plays a significant role in monitoring, rescuing and investigating stranded marine animals, especially sea turtles. “We have our protection squad on six beaches of Goa which are Agonda and Galgibag in South Goa and Morjim, Miramar, Vagator and Kerim in North Goa which look after the nesting sites of the Olive Ridley Turtle,” he added.
Gupta was addressing a workshop on sea turtles of Goa organised by Forest Department, WL&ET division (South), in association with Reefwatch Marine Conservation as a part of the Public Outreach Programme at Dr Francisco Luis Gomes District Library, Navelim.
Other dignitaries present from the Forest Department were Aniket P Naik Gaonkar, Dy Conservator of Forests, WL&ET (S) division, Premkumar R IFS, Dy Conservator of Forests, South division, Yasodha K IFS, Dy Conservator of Forests, Research and Utilisation division, Margao, Damodar Salelkar, Asst Conservator of Forests, WL&ET (S) division, Range Forest Officer, Cotigao WLS and other forest officials. The Reefwatch team was led by Manisha Rao, Program Coordinator, Goa; Nester Fernandes, Research and Outreach Officer; Dr Shashank, Veterinarian and Marishia Rodrigues.
The workshop witnessed participation of students from Goa University, colleges and various higher secondary schools of Goa, naturalists and biodiversity enthusiasts. They had the opportunity to learn about the biology and ecology of sea turtles, stranding incidences, veterinary aspects, threats, protection and conservation of these turtles etc with the help of an attractive presentation.