The wonders of nature have always left humans in awe and one such wonder is the Olive Ridley Turtle. Every year, these turtles migrate thousands of miles to return to the beaches where they hatched. The turtles then lumber ashore, find a suitable spot and dig their nesting holes. They lay around 2 to 3 clutches of eggs, with each clutch having close to 150 eggs. The mother turtles stay back till the eggs hatch and the hatchlings crawl into the sea.
Every year thousands of Olive Ridley Turtles visit the shores of Maharashtra. However poaching by the locals were pushing these turtles to extinction. In 2006, the Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, an NGO based in Chiplun, started the Turtle Festival.
This unique initiative opened the region for tourism and the poachers (who were actually the local villagers) found an alternative income source which was significantly higher. As a result the poachers have now become the protectors of the Olive Ridley Turtles.
Thanks to the Turtle Festival, there is a bright future ahead for the Olive Ridley Turtles. Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra has proved that a simple step can go a long way in protecting the wildlife.
The Turtle Festival starts from the last week of February and continues till April’s last week.