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Friends Of The Oceans Sea Turtles Network

Upwards of 45,000 Olive Ridley turtles die each year on the coasts of India, a number that would probably be much higher without the Friends Of The Oceans Sea Turtles Network. Founded in 1975, the Hyderabad chapter of this international organization leads the turtle preservation efforts on the Andhra Pradesh coasts. Other branches are located in South Africa, Brazil and California.

Immigration's tough on everyone it seems, even if you are a turtle. Every October, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles trying to reach the Indian shore are caught in the nets of deep-sea trawlers, which operate too close to the coast without permission. Enter the "Friends...", who are trying to (a) increase awareness of this issue among the general public, and (b) ensure proper implementation of the strict animal-rights laws which exist today only on paper.

This group also inspects the beaches to ensure that the nearby villagers take neither the turtles nor the eggs laid by them, away. Both turtle meat and eggs are considered a great delicacy, especially on the east coast, and poachers are known to export the meat to 5-star hotels in Kolkata. This year (2005), the "Friends… Network" has a unique solution to the poaching problem. Local villagers who come to collect turtle eggs will be offered a substitute – hen eggs. Since most villagers poach for subsistence rather than profit, the "Friends" hope this will partially solve the problem and save the turtles.

Membership And Volunteer Opportunities
Most members of the organization live on the coast. The founders claim that they have almost 50,000 active members, including fishermen communities. Volunteers are welcome between the months of October and March, when regular trips to the coast are organized, and necessary training will be provided. Full-time members are expected to participate in the planning and awareness-building activities in addition to the fieldwork.

Cash donations can be made by cheque/DD in favor of "Friends Of The Oceans Sea Turtles Network" and mailed to their office.
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