JOAO SOUSA M | NT
Goa is all set to get its first turtle conservation reserve at Galgibag in Canacona on a sprawling area of 17 hectares of land. The reserve will be set up under centrally-sponsored scheme.
The forest department has acquired 17 hectares of land along the Galgibag coast at a cost of Rs 15.5 crore and the area has now been declared as protected nests.
Deputy Conservator of Forests, South, Sanjay Waradkar said that the department has already commenced the socio-economic survey for setting up of the turtle conservation reserve and appointed Bengaluru-based Dakshin Foundation for the purpose. He also said that a conservation plan for setting up the turtle conservation reserve will be submitted soon.
He said that the reserve is being set up in accordance with provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act and taken up under a centrally-sponsored programme, which will include a natural incubation centre for turtles, a research centre and other facilities, which will attract students and tourists.
Waradkar said that the department has already started the process of taking all the stakeholders into confidence, as involvement of locals in the project is of utmost importance. He said that the locals living in the vicinity will also benefit in the long run, as the project will attract a lot of tourists.
Replying to a question on the cost of the project, he said the project is still in its initiation stages and the cost will be known only after the conservation plan is prepared. He said that the Centre will bear the funding for the entire project.
The project, which was initiated by the Galgibag church to protect turtle
eggs from poachers has resulted in the forest department having over 150 protected nests. It may be noted that then parish priest Fr Mariano Goes Proenca had alerted the forest department after he had spotted some persons robbing the eggs from the beach and selling them in the market. Thereafter, nesting pits were made and protected by employing local youth. Since then, the locals have been engaged in the task round the clock.
Meanwhile, the forest department could soon have a separate marine division and a proposal has been sent to the government to consider the setting up of a division, which could monitor the coastline as well as the sea.