Nature lovers and conservationists are worried as the number of arriving Olive Ridley Turtles during the breeding season has 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 have to come by this time of the year. The arrivals this season are less as the season of their breeding has commenced in January first week itself."
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, I think that by February end we can collect the turtle eggs along the coastline."
He said that there are a large number of Olive Ridley turtle carcasses washed ashore and that this is due to the turtles flippers getting entangled in gill nets and trawlers. The turtles after getting stuck in the nets try to wriggle out but eventually end up drowning.
Even though there are devices to remove the turtles from the nets but 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 major campaign among the fishermen community across the coastal belts of Tamil Nadu to impress on them the necessity of the protection of the Olive Ridley turtles.
Another conservationist Sunil K.R. told IANS, "We will be conducting a major campaign across the fishermen belt so that they understand the need for protecting these turtles."20230124-194802