Turtle helps save its namesake species

June 6th, 2012 - 3:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 6 (IANS) Turtle Ltd, a leading menswear company that has been involved in conserving turtles, especially endangered Olive Ridley on the Odisha coast, is now mulling to expand this activity to the west coast in Gujarat.

The Kolkata-based company had taken up the cause of saving the vulnerable turtles in association with the Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO) since 2006, doing justice to its namesake.

“AS Turtle is our brand name, we do not want the species to die,” Amit Ladsaria, director of the company, told IANS.

Classified as threatened and vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), Olive Ridley, one of the seven endangered species of sea turtles, come for mass nesting every year to the Rushikulya beach in Odisha’s Ganjam district.

The Odisha coast is one of the few places where the species, also known as Pacific Ridley, come for nesting. Other places are Costa Rica and Mexico.

Ladsaria said the company was interested in spreading its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to Gujarat coast, where the hatching happens.

“We are in talks with some agents with Gujarat. What we want is a good local organiser for carrying out the project. A senior team from the company will shortly visit the state,” he added.

“Things could be finalised in the next three to four months,” he said.

Describing their activities in Odisha to protect the Olive Ridley, Ladsaria said they had been carrying out a massive protection awareness campaign with the help of the local villagers against killing and poaching of the endangered species.

Illegal fishing is banned once the turtles start arriving on the beaches. The entire stretch of the four-km beach from Gokharakuda to Pdampeta, near the river Rushikulya’s mouth, has been divided into 40 segments and each segment is monitored by an official along with a daily wager.

Ahead of mass nesting of Olive Ridleys, forest personnel and volunteers clean the beach.

“When lakhs of turtles come for nesting during summer at June-end every year, it is a very beautiful sight to watch,” Ladsaria said.

He said that for saving the vulnerable species, the company provided the local fishermen with devices that helped to exclude turtles from the net at the time of fishing.

“Our officials also conducted surprise visits with the police at local markets to check selling of the turtles,” he informed.

The company has carried out wall paintings to spread awareness on protecting the species. “We have made significant progress on Odisha’s coast,” Ladsaria said.

(Mithun Dasgupta can be contacted at mithun.d@ians.in)

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