05 Apr, 2017
The two project associates in Maharashtra for the CMPA project, Mr. Mohan Upadhye and Mr. Abhinay Kelaskar were awarded the Friend of Turtle Award on 5th April 2017 at Anjarle Village located on the Velas to Dhabol site of the CMPA project. This award has been instituted by Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) in 2002 to recognise individual and institutional efforts to conserve Olive Ridley Turtles.
Olive Ridley hatchling returing to sea.
Photo Credit: Supriya Jhunjhunwala
The award ceremony was chaired by Mr Bhau Kadgere from SNM and Mr. Sandesh Deokar, Sarpanch (village head) of Anjarle village. Ms. Supriya Jhunjhunwala Adviser GIZ Biodiversity Programme was the chief guest. Mr. Maruti Jamle Forester and Mr. Amit Nimbkar Forest Guard from the Maharashtra Forest Department were also present. The programme started with a welcome speech by Bhau Katdare, President of Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra. He explained the reasons of setting up the award and gave details about the past awardees.
The head of Anjarle village Mr. Sandesh Deokar said that he felt like the award was being given to the whole village. Supriya Jhunjhunwala, Adviser GIZ Biodiversity programme stated that the key to conservation success was participation by the local community, for which it was important to build local leadership. She also said that conservation works best when the forest department, local NGO’s and local community work in synergy.
Mr. Mohan Upadhyay receiving the award from Mr. Deokar.
Photo Credit: SNM
Mr. Abhinay Kelaskar receiving the award from Ms. Supriya Jhunjhunwala.
Photo Credit: SNM
The award was presented to Mr. Upadhye by Mr. Deokar and to Mr. Kelaskar by Ms. Supriya Jhunjhunwala. The awardees expressed their gratitude to the local community for enabling them to succeed in turtle conservation. They also thanked The Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra Forest Department, Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, and GIZ for institutional support.
Mr. Mohan Upadhye is a Project Associate employed by the Mangrove cell Maharashtra for the CMPA project and has been proactively contributing to turtle conservation since 2004. He has been instrumental in setting up the Olive Ridley hatcheries in Velas and monitoring the safe release of the hatchlings in Anjarle village since 2006.He has organised the turtle festival and helped developed homestays to host tourists who attend the festival. Mr. Abhinay Kelaskar is also a Project Associate employed by the Mangrove cell Maharashtra for the CMPA project and has been involved in turtle conservation since 2004.
He has been instrumental in setting up the Olive Ridley hatcheries in and around Anjarle, and monitoring the safe release of the hatchlings in Anjarle village since 2006.He has been influential in starting the Turtle festival in Anjarla in 2016 which gave the economy a boost with almost 3,000 visitors. He has also initiated an eco-friendly home stay model in the village. He has encourages youth in and around Anjarle village to get involved in conservation.
Both Mohan and Abhinay have also helped many coastal villages in Ratnagiri district in setting up turtle hatcheries and safe release of the hatchlings. The turtle festivals and homestays, supported by the CMPA project are lauded as one of the most successful cases of linking biodiversity conservation with local community's livelihood. The ceremony ended with the distribution of cloth bags developed as a part of the CMPA project.
Awardeed and guests with eco-friendly cloth bags developed by the CMPA.
Photo Credit: SNM
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