C Achalender Reddy
Wildlife Service Award (2000)
C. Achalender Reddy, The Director (Wildlife), Goa Forest Department, C. Achalender Reddy initiated surveys of Goan beaches that attract nesting marine turtles. In the process he discovered that Morjim beach was a particular favourite for nesting mothers. He therefore stepped up protection of the beach and started ‘Project Turtle’ in the Morjim village. His persistent efforts helped convince locals to guard nesting sites and hatchlings. Eventually even trawler owners agreed to cooperate. In January 2000, the programme was extended to Galgibaga beach, from where several hundred hatchlings were observed returning to the sea after the 1999-2000 nesting season. Reddy has now started a Turtle Study Centre at Pernem for scientists, environmentalists, foresters and wildlifers.
After serving in several biodiversity hotspots - including the Andaman Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and the Western Ghats - Reddy learned how to avoid being hamstrung by rules, regulations and red tape. Thanks to his efforts, the Forest Department of Goa is now a Member of ‘Operation Kacchappa’ a national sea-turtle Conservation and Management initiative. Reddy is a role model not only for other government officers, but also for NGOs who have admired his drive and begun to emulate his initiative by protecting Goa’s beaches.