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Death Toll of Olive Ridleys Increasing Every Year

The rescue of a ‘live’ turtle on the Panaiyur beach was reason to celebrate for conservationists on Thursday.

Published: 29th January 2016 04:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2016 04:58 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The rescue of a ‘live’ turtle on the Panaiyur beach was reason to celebrate for conservationists on Thursday. This is because a stranded Olive Ridley on the shore is usually a dead Olive Ridley, primarily due to fishing nets that cause them to drown.

So it is no surprise that volunteers which found this resilient shell-backed soul rewarded him with the name Kuvira, which is Sanskrit for ‘courageous one.’

According to the numbers recorded by the TREE Foundation (a trust engaged in the conservation of marine life), the death toll alonh the 126 kilometre stretch  between Neelankarai and Alamparai has climbed from 202 in 2013 to 423 in 2014 and decreasing slightly in 2015 to 411.

These figures are calculated between January and April, when a bulk of stranded Olive Ridleys are found as it is nesting season.

“This year alone we have seen 45 turtles found dead along the Kancheepuram shoreline, and we’re only in January,” says Supraja Dharini, founder of the TREE Foundation. And this is not counting the 70 that were found dead on the stretch between Neelankarai and Besant Nagar, as well as the Marina beach by members of the Student Sea Turtle Conservation Network. The bigger tragedy is that these numbers hardly reflect the actual number of drownings that remain lost in the sea.

“Only eight to 10 per cent of these turtles actually wash up ashore,” says Akhila Balu, a coordinator at SSTCN. Thankfully Kuvira who was dehydrated and suffered cut marks all over her carapace and snout, due to possible entanglement in a net - can count herself among the lucky few to survive. Now stabilised at the TREE Foundation Rescue and Rehabilitation centre, it’s only a matter of time before she can swim back home.

If you come across a stranded turtle, whether you think it is alive or dead, contact 94440 52242 or 94443 06411.

one in 1,000 turtles becomes adults

Chennai: Scientists estimate that only 1 in 1,000 baby turtles survive to become adults. Therefore losing so many adult turtles to fishing gear and intentional injuries is very bad for a species that has been declared Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is also protected by the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 under Schedule I , Part II. 

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