This year alone, we protected more than 700 female turtles and more than 60,000 eggs, with a total of 36,000 hatchlings released safely to the sea. What's more, we trained almost 50 members of area communities in the protection of olive ridleys, and reached about 2,500 people through programs to raise awareness of the issue. Eleven local schools also participated in beach clean-up programs, with more than 100 students and teachers taking part in the effort. Participation by locals not only provides useful hands-on assistance; it gives people a stake in the fate of the animals they spent time trying to help.
Patrols remain the most effective way to protect hatchlings and nesting females. The project has enlisted 10 guards-young men from nearby villages-who are charged not only with watching the beaches to ensure the turtles aren't harmed, but also recording data pertaining to mothers, eggs and hatchlings. They keep the nests safe from invasive predators and aid the hatchlings in their perilous journey from the nest to the sea-one that many would not survive if it weren't for this benevolent intervention. Through the project, essential information is gathered, to be shared with the Ministry of Environment & Forests in India as well as other organizations that are working towards conserving these creatures.