The forest department has been carrying out the turtle conservation programme by engaging watchers from the fishermen community. (DC Image)
Visakhapatnam: The AP Forest Department, under its turtle protection and conservation programme, released 982 Olive Ridley Turtle hatchlings into the sea in the wee hours of Sunday.
District collector Mallikarjuna, senior forest officials and school and college students were present. Officials collected 61,218 eggs and released 3,786 hatchlings into the sea till March 19 this season, said DFO Anant Shankar.
He said the forest department has been carrying out the turtle conservation programme by engaging watchers from the fishermen community. There are five base camps at RK Beach, Jodugullapalem, Chepalauppada, Mutyalammapalem and Pedanagayyapalem.
Each camp is manned by five fishermen. In all, 25 persons from the community are engaged in providing them livelihood. The programme is funded by NTPC under its CSR list.
The highest number of 104 nests was formed at RK Beach, 100 at Mutyalammapalem, 87 at Jodugullapalem, 33 at Chepalauppada and 35 Pedanagamayyapalem this season. The total number of nests has increased to 543 while 61,218 eggs were collected.
The DFO said that during the 2019-20 season, 811 nests were formed and 74, 932 eggs collected. About 64,030 hatchlings were released into the sea. The nests came down in the 2020-21 season as 458 nests were formed and 47,694 eggs were collected. About 43,988 hatchlings were released into the sea.
Conservationists say the hectic activities on the beach road are affecting the nesting. Pollution, human trampling and stray dogs were killing the hatchlings, they said.