Nature lovers and conservationists are worried as the number of arriving Olive Ridley Turtles during the breeding season have come down.
In the areas between Basant Nagar and Neelankari in Chennai, around a dozen nests of Olive Ridley turtles have come up. The nesting season of the Olive Ridley turtles commenced in the first week of January, but the arrival of the turtles in Chennai and adjoining beaches has come down drastically.
Chennai conservationist Arjun R told IANS, “The Olive Ridley turtles must come by this time of the year. This season’s arrivals are fewer, while their breeding season commenced in January’s first week.”
Wildlife department officials told IANS that the department has already set up nests for the turtles to lay eggs in Besant Nagar, Neelankarai and Injambakkam.
Environmentalist Perivayaran Swaminathan, who closely monitors the Olive Ridley turtles, told IANS, “The breeding season has begun, but the arrival is less. However, we can collect the turtle eggs along the coastline by February end.”
He said that there are a large number of Olive Ridley turtle carcasses washed ashore and that this is due to the turtle’s flippers getting entangled in gill nets and trawlers. After getting stuck in the nets, the turtles try to wriggle out but eventually end up drowning.
Even though there are devices to remove the turtles from the nets, the fishermen don’t use them as that would lead to a large catch of fish getting out from the net.
Conservationists and wildlife experts are planning a significant campaign among the fishermen community across the coastal belts of Tamil Nadu to impress on them the necessity of protecting the Olive Ridley turtles.
Another conservationist, Sunil K.R., told IANS, “We will be conducting a major campaign across the fisherfolk’s belt so that they understand the need for protecting these turtles.”
The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.