VISAKHAPATNAM: In what could give a big boost to the conservation measures for the threatened Olive Ridley turtles, the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department is planning to develop a turtle interpretation centre at the pagoda-type cottage at R.K. Beach in its bid to revive the Environment Education Centre after a gap of nearly a decade, reports The Hindu.
Visakhapatnam coast is one of the critical nesting zones of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.
Sharing details with The Hindu about the interpretation centre, Rahul Pandey, Chief Conservator of Forest, said, “Visakhapatnam coast being a very crucial breeding area for the Olive Ridleys, a turtle interpretation centre will be developed at the pagoda structure at a cost of ₹ 30 to 40 lakh. The centre will showcase the life cycle and journey of these special creatures, which will help in spreading the message of conservation.”
The project was earlier being considered to be done at Kambalakonda Eco Tourism Park.
However, forest officials felt that the beach would be a more appropriate place to have a centre on these sea turtles, which travel thousands of kilometres into the ocean to arrive every year during November-March in this part of the world in large numbers.
The centre will be developed in association with Visakha Society for Care and Protection of Animals (VSPCA), which has been working in the field of Olive Ridley conservation for over a decade. Incidentally, this year Visakhapatnam recorded a phenomenal increase in the number of eggs collected from the coast that rose from 40,000 in 2016 to 80,000 eggs this year.
The Forest Department in association with VSPCA maintains five hatcheries in the Visakhapatnam and released over 70,400 hatchlings into the sea this year.