Olive Ridley Turtles, what are those? This is a question that 13-year-old Swanit Chaudhary is often greeted with.
Chaudhary often visits zoos to educate people as part of an initiative to save and protect the Olive Ridley Turtles through posters and banners.
A trip to Orissa proved to be a life-changing experience for this class VIII student of Modern School, Barakhmba.
“When I was in class VII, I read about the Olive Ridley Turtles and how their population was threatened. I told my father I wanted see the breeding of the turtles,” said Chaudhary.
Seeing his enthusiasm, Yogendra Chaudhary, his father, organised a trip to Orissa in April, the breeding time of the turtles.
“We went to Rushikulya river. It was pitch dark and we could see the eggs being hatched,” said Chaudhary, his voice and expression conveying his excitement as he tried to recreate the scene.
“The sight was overwhelming. One has to see to believe it. The baby turtles running towards the sea minutes after being born. That was it. I decided to work towards conservation of these cute little creatures,” he said.
After coming back to Delhi, with the help of his nature club teacher, Chaudhury collected a little sum of money from his school by spreading awareness about the need to conserve the turtles.
The money was sent to Orissa to put up barbed wires to protect them from vultures, dogs and poachers.
Chaudhary plans to mobilise the local community with the help of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangthan (NYKS) of the local youth club to participate in the programme.
“The most important job is to make people aware of the turtles. I think this planet is meant for everyone. The turtles have as much right to live as we do, so we need to save these beautiful creatures from the greed of the poachers,” he said.
His father, who lent a helping hand in the initiative, said: “It make me feel very nice that my son is already so conscious about the need to preserve the ecological balance of nature and working towards it.”