On 15th February 2018 at 4.30 a.m., TREE Foundation’s Sea Turtle Protection Force members were on sea turtle patrol along Periya Neelankarai beach. The patrol team noticed that there were a number of dogs behind Sai Baba Temple. Continuing their patrol, they spotted a sea turtle on the beach and on closer inspection, they saw that the adult female Olive Ridley turtle that had come to nest had been attacked and bitten by some of the dogs. The sea turtle was badly injured on the shoulder area of both front flippers and also on the right hind flipper and blood was clearly visible.
The STPF members immediately called TREE Foundation’s Stranding team, who in turn came to the area with the Stranding kit to treat the turtle. Unfortunately, however, due to the deep bites from the attack and severe blood loss due to severed arteries, she sadly passed away soon after. We named her Vidhura. Under the direction of Dr. Dharini, Mr. Pugalarasan, Mr. Ezhumalai and Mr. Manavalan subsequently performed a necropsy from which it was determined that Vidhura was carrying 117 eggs inside her in preparation for nesting. The eggs were carefully removed and transferred to our hatchery in Periya Neelankarai for incubation. Vidhura was buried deep down on the beach as a mark of respect.To address this situation, TREE Foundation’s Domestic Animal Welfare volunteer team has started neutering and vaccinating the stray dogs on the beaches of Neelankarai, Injambakkam and adjoining coastal areas.
The nesting season of Olive Ridley along the coast of Tamil Nadu lasts from December to April. During this time TREE Foundation’s STPF members patrol the nesting beaches to discourage poachers and predators, protect nesting turtles and their eggs from predators and also identify and record any dead or injured turtles that have stranded on the beach. If you come across a stranded turtle while on the beach please contact 9444306411. The Centre has successfully rehabilitated and released many sea turtles, including Olive Ridley, Green and Hawksbill turtles that have stranded so reporting every stranding incident is important, it could save a life.