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Sea turtles have existed for more than 150 million years and have survived all the drastic changes that our planet has gone through. But these unobtrusive creatures seem to have finally met their match , Man !!. Indiscriminate Trawling , Poaching and Urbanization have wrecked havoc on all the Turtle species . The one species that nests here ( The Olive Ridley) fares no better. These and other causes for concern prompted a group of students to start an organization called the Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) in 1988.

The Students' Sea Turtle Conservation network is a voluntary, non-profit non-governmental organization started with the principal objective of conserving the Olive Ridley sea turtle on the Chennai coast . This is one of the eight species of sea turtles , all of which are endangered. Over the years its numbers have fallen drastically due to habitat destruction , Poaching of eggs , Pollution and other human interference's . If this present trend continues , this ancient marine reptile may be lost forever.

HatcheryThe SSTCN 's strategy for sea turtle conservation involves a combination of Hatchery management and Beach management programs .At the beginning of the Annual nesting season , the members construct a Turtle hatchery near a fishing village called Neelankarai . The hatchery is basically a thatched structure with a small area of beach enclosed by a fence. Every night between December and April, the female turtles come ashore to lay anywhere between 70 to 200 eggs in a flask shaped nest which they dig in the sand. During this period, members and volunteers patrol a stretch of the coastline in search of the nests . Nests that appear to be safe are left in the wild and are monitored continuously . Others whose survival is threatened are transferred to a hatchery and reburied with the exact same dimensions as the original one. The nests are then incubated naturally for about seven weeks ,before the emerging baby turtles are released back into the sea . Creating a general awareness and educating the public on environmental issues are some of the other important facet of the Networks activities .

A Sincere Appeal

Like most Environmental Organizations, SSTCN is a non-profit concern run by like-minded dedicated students with a little help from a few concerned citizens. Although much of the time and energy is thrown in by our members and volunteers , there is still a major requirement for funding. Right from constructing of the hatchery ,to the researcher we've employed , to our equipment , the cost of keeping this conservation project alive is at times beyond our scope.

We would truly appreciate any kind of help (monetary or otherwise) which you can make to the Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network .

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