The Tamil Nadu government has sanctioned Rs 6.30 crore to set up a turtle conservation and rehabilitation centre in Chennai, the first such one in the State, the Environment Climate Change and Forests Department said on Saturday.
The state-of-the-art centre, which will involve local communities, would have facilities like turtle pool, shed in addition to the medical facilities for rehabilitating rescued turtles. It will act as a temporary home to sick and injured turtles before they are released back to the natural habitat.
The centre would also serve to create awareness on turtle conservation. The project would be funded by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board from their resources and implemented by the Chief Wildlife Warden. A government order issued by Additional Chief Secretary, Environment Climate Change and Forests, Supriya Sahu, on Friday said the State's long coastline hosts five species of marine turtles viz. Olive Ridley, Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles. Olive Ridley species mostly nest along the coast.
On April 25, last year, the State government had announced in the Assembly to establish a turtle conservation and rehabilitation centre in Chennai at a cost of Rs 6.30 crore to boost turtle conservation efforts. Hence, the present GO.
"Turtles play an extremely important role in maintaining the marine bio-diversity, as they act as the ecosystem engineers," the GO said. Turtles around the world however are facing serious threats due to habitat loss and adverse impact of climate change. Marine pollution including micro plastics are causing serious damage to turtle population across the world. lt is in this context that the conservauon of turtles assumes greater importance, it said.