12 turtles dead, but more nestings expected this year
Sulogna Mehta| TNN
VISAKHAPATNAM: Around a dozen Olive Ridley turtles have died in the last week itself along the city’s beaches, say NGOs working with the forest department for conservation of the endangered species.
The deaths are high compared to last year by around 50-60%, but animal conservationists say the picture is not all that gloomy as a rise in fatalities also indicates a higher number of turtles that are arriving on the city’s beaches for nesting and hatching. Breeding, nesting and hatching of the Olive Ridleys is expected to be considerably higher than last year, say experts.
The chief cause of death is due to the turtles getting entangled in trawler nets along the coast.
Founder-president of Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA) Pradeep Nath, whose Turtle Action Group works in collaboration with the AP forest department for conservation of the Olive Ridleys, said there is a steady rise in numbers of Olive Ridleys coming ashore.
« Dead turtles are sighted more frequently this year, one or two a day, but it also means that more turtles in the seas along Vizag coast have come for breeding. It indicates we will have more turtle nests and eggs this time and number of hatchlings will also increase. In fact, every year, it is increasing and between 2015-16 and 2016-17, we had a 100% increase in nesting and eggs, » Nath said.
There are five major nesting centres on the beach stretch between Vizag to Bheemili. These include RK Beach
, Jodugudlapalem, Kailasagiri Appu Ghar, and one just after Bheemili and the other behind NTPC
in Tantadi. The maximum number of hatchlings are still found at the oldest hatching ground of RK Beach. To minimise disturbance to the Olive Ridley turtles during their nesting season due to the light, sound and pollution generated by the Visakha Utsav, the Turtle Action Group has also ensured that the fest is concluded by December.
« Since January and February constitute the peak nesting season, we had a meeting with the district collector and he assured us that it would be finished by December, so that the Olive Ridleys are not disturbed in January, » added Nath.