Velas, India is a small village about 80 miles south of Mumbai, where the villagers take it upon themselves to protect the sea turtles who visit their beaches each year. The Velas Sea Turtle Festival is in full swing right now as they release hatchlings into the ocean in batches, and will continue to do so until the end of April.
These little guys are Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. They’re going off to live in the open ocean, and eventually they’ll return to the shores of the Pacific and Indian Oceans to lay their own eggs when they’re all grown up!
The teeny-tiny sea turtles leave their fin-prints in the sand – they circle back, wobble and zig-zag, but their instincts will eventually lead them into the water! The villagers watch not only because the babies are extra-cute, but also to keep them safe from other local wildlife that think baby sea turtles are a tasty treat.
Sea turtle hatching season isn’t over yet! Turtles dig nests along the coasts of many countries including the U.S., so you may be able to watch a hatchling release even if you can’t get to Velas, India! Contact your local sea turtle conservation organization to find out if they allow the public to watch their hatchling releases!