Karnataka: Hawksbill turtle found with plastic in its body

Experts said plastic menace should be addressed soon.
The carcass of the turtle.
The carcass of the turtle.

KARWAR : The plastic menace has reached deep seas as a rare hawksbill turtle that was washed ashore near Karwar was found with plastic in its body. Experts termed it an alarming development.

The turtle was found by the patrolling team of the Karwar Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Conservation cell (CMECC) at Majali. “It was probably entangled in a fishing net. When we performed an autopsy, we found plastic in it,” said Pramod Naik, Range Forest Officer, CMECC.

Experts said plastic menace should be addressed soon. “Plastic is mistaken for food by many marine creatures, including turtles. Big plastic items break down into micro and nano plastics because of the sun and waves. These enter the food chain and will be ultimately consumed by humans. As per research findings, seas will have more plastic than fish by 2050. Plastic has already entered salts of different brands. We need to take it seriously and create awareness on it,” said Professor Jaganath Rathod, Chairman, Department of Marine Biology, Karnataka University, Dharwad.

The hawksbill turtle is one of the four sea turtles found in the subcontinent and one of the three turtle species sighted in Uttara Kannada. Protected under Schedule 1 of Wildlife Act, it has a narrow pointed head which looks like a hawk’s beak, and that’s why the name. They are the smallest among sea turtles and grow up to 2.5 to 3 feet in length. They prefer rocky areas, reefs and lagoons to thrive. They are deep sea dwellers and branded critically endangered as they are poached for the shells that are used to make ornaments.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express