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High tide washes away Olive Ridley turtles eggs

Time of India, New Delhi, 23rd April, 2015

BERHAMPUR/KENDRAPADA: Hundreds of nests of endangered Olive Ridley turtles at Rushikulya and Gahirmatha rookeries were washed away in high tides during full moon and new moon recently.


Turtles had laid around 3 lakh eggs at Gahirmatha and 3.09 lakh at Rushikulya in the second week of March. These eggs were to hatch after 45 to 50 days.


"A large number of eggs have been washed way due to the erosion of 2-km stretch of the beach at Gokharakuda," said secretary of Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee Rabindra Sahu.


He attributed it to heavy dredging near Gopalpur Port and construction of a 4-km breakwater, about 10 km from Rushikulya.


Sahu said the erosion has led to formation of small 'cliffs' on the sand dunes and the turtles are unable to climb these. They are instead laying eggs on the beach, where there is greater risk of exposure and interference, he said.


"The government should conduct scientificstudy to know the exact reason behind the erosion to save the turtle population in the state," Sahu added.


Divisional forest officer (DFO), Berhampur, S S Mishra said it was a natural phenomenon. "Every year, several eggs are destroyed due to the beach erosion. Around 10% eggs near Gokharakuda were reportedly washed away this year. The situation is not alarming," he said.


The DFO said several measures were taken to protect the eggs. "The entire 4.5-km stretch has been divided into 33 sectors. The area has been fenced to prevent dog, jackal and crow from destroying the eggs. Fifteen forest staffers are on guard along with some nearby villagers," he said. These measures will be in place till the hatching of the eggs, he added.


Forest officer of Gahiramatha marine sanctuary Subrata Patra said, "Tidal waves destroyed few eggs at Nasi -1 and Nasi 2. We are taking steps to prevent jackals, dogs and wild boars from devouring the eggs."