Eight more Olive Ridley carcasses found

Berhampur: Several dead Olive Ridley turtles have been washed ashore in Nolia Nuagaon area in Ganjam district, officials said today.

Forest officials seized at least eight carcasses of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles from the area on Friday. With this, the forest officials have so far seized over 70 dead turtles from different places off Ganjam coast during last one month, the sources said.

Officials claimed that the mortality of the turtles was not much alarming, as they face several obstacles in the sea, while coming for mass nesting. "While some deaths were natural, some others died after being hit by fishing trawlers in deep sea," said divisional forest officer, Berhampur AK Jena.

Wildlife activists, however, said the mortality was more than the officials` claim and deaths caused due to lack of patrolling and improper fishing by trawlers.

Forest department officials denied it saying since the turtles have been sighted mating inside the sea, surveillance measures have been tightened in the coastal area in order to provide the congenial atmosphere to them.

Forest personnel along with the local volunteers have been guarding the mating turtles in Bay of Bengal, while Coast Guards have been looking after their safety.

The government has imposed a ban on fishing in the 170-km long coastal area in the state from November 1 to May 31 from 5 to 10 km away from the shore to protect the turtles.

Millions of Olive Ridley turtles come ashore in between Kantiagada and Gokaharakuda beaches near Rushikulya river mouth for mass nesting. It was considered the second major mass nesting site for the Olive Ridley after Gahiramatha in Kendrapara district.