Actor Rahul Khanna can be counted among those Bollywood stars who are known for promoting the cause of animal welfare and wildlife conservation. He’s even featured in a PETA advertisement, to protest the keeping of elephants in zoos.
Over the weekend, while he was in Goa, Rahul was lucky enough to watch baby Olive Ridley turtles, hatching from their eggs and scramble down the beach, into the sea.
He wrote, “Had the incredible fortune of witnessing the Olive Ridley marine turtles hatching on the beaches of North Goa.”
Rahul adds, via Email: “It is truly a rare and magical experience to witness such an event. But it’s also a delicate situation because, in spite of a few beaches being classified as eco-sensitive, turtle nesting areas, there has been so much indiscriminate and unlawful development on the coast and all the light and noise pollution that comes along with it, that the nests have been decreasing every year, which is devastating for the environment because Olive Ridley marine turtles are becoming endangered and fall under the same degree of protective classification as Tigers. Female turtles are known to swim hundreds of miles to return, some 20-30 years later, to the same beach they were hatched on, to lay their own eggs. However, if they experience noise and light pollution, they just stay off-shore and lay their eggs in the water.These eggs then rot away and are lost forever, which is why the numbers are so drastically dwindling. Also, the hatchlings instinctively follow the moonlight into the ocean. However if there is other, unnatural light and sound around, they get disoriented and start following that, often getting so far off track that they get beached or become prey for birds and other animals. I hope the government and public start cooperating and work towards protecting these beautiful creatures and their natural habitat.”
Now that’s a true “wild experience” in Goa!