The Trust for Environment Education, Conservation and Community Development, otherwise known as the TREE Foundation, has been working since 2002 to protect the Olive Ridley sea turtle, listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN’s Red List. Its work stretches along the east coast of India from Tamil Nadu to Odisha, covering 523 km and involving 260 people from 198 villages employed as Sea Turtle Protection Force (STPF) staff.

Need for the Initiative

The Foundation’s work has resulted in the release of over 15,00,000 Olive Ridley hatchlings into the sea. It conducts training workshops and awareness-creating events for artisanal fishermen, state-level officers, fishing community members, teachers, students, tribes and the general public. Its Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Tamil Nadu treats injured Olive Ridley turtles and other turtles too. TREE Foundation receives intermittent funding from international bodies.

Conservation Initiatives and Impacts

The Andhra Pradesh Government pays the STPF in the State, while Turtle Walks in Tamil Nadu generate some income. The NBA provides grants for biodiversity awareness programmes for teachers and students. Shortfalls are made up by contributions from the trustees and their friends. The Foundation capitalizes on the collective wisdom of fisher folk adept at identifying tracks and nests, knowing when to expect the turtles to come ashore, down to specific times on specific nights. Historically, many of these communities view sea turtles and their eggs as a source of free protein, but because of the Foundation’s efforts, they now use traditional knowledge to protect the turtles. Olive Ridley turtles are important to the marine ecosystem. Their absence would affect fish and crustacean populations. By protecting them, coral reef and sea-grass ecosystems and all other species of sea turtle are conserved too. The Foundation’s efforts have ensured that significant numbers of nesting turtles still visit the east coast.

Contact -Supraja Dharini Tel: (+91) 94440 52242 Email: (Applicant) Email: (Facilitator)