Supraja Dharini: Community based conservation of sea turtles and dolphins in Kancheepuram, India.
Supraja Dharini is Chairperson of the TREE Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the conservation of marine fauna in Kancheepuram on India’s east coast.
Habitat loss, the direct harvesting of turtle eggs, and incidental capture of non-target marine fauna such as dolphins by commercial fisheries has led to the decline of these species along India’s coastline and globally.
The Foundation aims address these issues by engaging artisanal fishermen and local youth to conserve and study marine fauna, whilst raising awareness in nearby villages, schools and among the general public to empower coastal communities to work towards more sustainable practices and participate in decision-making.
Since the Foundation’s inception in 2002, more than 55,000 Olive Ridley sea turtle hatchlings have been safely released, over 40,000 students in 56 schools and 18 colleges have participated in environmental awareness programmes, and the communities of 25 fishing villages along 76 km of coastline coast have joined the fight to save the oceans.
In 2009, WFN was delighted to support the work of Supraja and her team through an Associate Award of £10,000 for one year of project funding.