World Turtle News, 03/06/2018
Bbarefoot ecologists’ behind return of Olive Ridleys to Odisha’s beach
Youngsters who patrol the murky shoreline into wee hours of the night, a women’s self help group which protects the mushy hatchlings, and a resolute 36-year-old man who has vowed to never marry to serve the ‘second avatar of Lord Vishnu’ – these are the pieces of an untold story behind the resurgence of the thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles to the golden sand beaches of Odisha.
Bichitranal Biswal, fondly called Bichi and hailed by his friends as the “Turtle Man of India”, was in eighth standard when he first saw hundreds of dead turtles on the beach and alerted the media about 17 years ago. “I warned the local fishermen, that if things continued the same way, there would be no fish left for us to catch by 2030,” Bichi said. He has vowed not to marry, and dedicated his life to protect the turtles, which he equates with the God Vishnu. “They are the avatar of Vishnu. They are my wife, my children and everything,” said the 36 year old, who recently suffered a paralysis attack which left him bedridden. However, his determination to return to his mission helped him get back on his feet within a span of four months.
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Photo from PTI.