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Sindhudurg beaches beckon nature lovers

After the recent turtle festival in Ratnagiri, there's another one in the offing.

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After the recent turtle festival in Ratnagiri, there’s another one in the offing.

For the first time, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has planned a turtle (Olive Ridley) festival in Sindhudurg.

Olive Ridley turtles are scheduled I endangered species, the same as tigers.

The festival, in 12 beaches in Sindhudurg, aims to promote turtle tourism and conservation. Earlier, the locals of Sindhudurg used to eat turtle eggs but now they have joined the conservation drive.

“We have organised a turtle festival at Mochemad beach in Vengurla taluka of Sindhudurg between March 22 and 24,” said an official with UNDP-GEF (Global Environment Facility), Government of India project.

“With an intention of creating new opportunities for the villages that take part in the conservation programme, SNM has announced this festival. SNM has conducted hospitality training for the local people who will host the tourists in their own houses,” said Bhau Katdare of SNM.

This festival also gives an opportunity to tourists to know more about the local life, exchange ideas and create a bonding with the nature conservation programme.

Integrating hospitality at the village level also helps in conservation. The locals realised that turtle tourism helps in giving them earnings and have saving the eggs and nests, instead of eating them.

This year, a total of 305 hatchlings have been released into the sea from five nests. Hatchlings from19 more nests are left to be released.

Till now, the conservation of Olive Ridleys’ nestlings was happening in isolation, but this is the first year that the focus is on saving nests at 12 beaches of Sindhudurg.

A boat racing too has been organised during the festival apart from showcasing a short film, To The Nature We Owe. The other activities planned include a play, traditional fishing and coconut-tree climbing.

Last weekend, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation organised a turtle and dolphin festival at Velas and Harnai beaches in Konkan region.

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