WWF-India has been working to promote the conservation of sea turtle populations across the Indian coast and developed mitigation strategies for reducing threats at their nesting sites and in marine habitats. These get bolstered by workshops and outreach programs organized regularly to engage with fisher communities, forest department officials, schools and other stakeholders. Some of the specific programs that have been organized by WWF-India include:
Monitoring and protecting important sea turtle nesting beaches in Odisha
WWF-India works closely with the Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department in a joint venture to monitor turtle nesting events since 2008, in Rushikulya and Devi. This includes fencing portions of the beaches to keep predators at bay. In 2023, WWF-India collaborated with the Dakshin Foundation and the Technology for Wildlife Foundation for the first-ever structured aerial survey of offshore aggregations of sea turtles in India.
Leaving only footsteps: Arribada monitoring in progress
Olive ridley turtles appear as white specs from hundreds of feet above the Bay of Bengal
Conducting trials and training to incorporate Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in trawl nets
This work hopes to positively change shrimp-trawl fisher perceptions and their behaviour towards turtles and TED adoption. WWF-India is building the capacities of the trawling communities and training them to install and use TEDs in their nets - by highlighting the economic and environmental upsides of using TEDs in trawl nets. As incidental bycatch of sea turtles in trawl fisheries continues to be a cause of concern, WWF-India has also focused efforts to ensure the compliance and usage of the TEDs across India's East coast, paying specific attention to the mass aggregation sites in Odisha.
Trial being conducted on board a trawler for a bycatch reduction device
Coordinating a network of Local Marine Turtle Conservation Groups in Kerala
WWF-India works along the Kerala Coast using a network of local marine turtle conservation groups to develop a comprehensive Marine Turtle Information System, develop the necessary infrastructure for improved protection of beaches, improve R&D for protection and conservation efforts, and increase awareness and outreach. This is achieved in collaboration with the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).
Co-hosting a virtual exhibition on sea turtles
Arribada, a Spanish word meaning arrival, is one of the largest mass nesting events of Ridley turtles globally. WWF-India collaborates with Aradhana Seth, and the Dakshin Foundation on a virtual experience that celebrates turtles and our connection with them - with turtle stories from culture and conservation, an exhibition of turtle artefacts, and much more. www.arribada.in
Turtle artefacts from across cultures and countries on the Arribada virtual experience