After slow start, Olive Ridley Turtle nesting season picks up pace in coastal delta

The districts of Mayiladuthurai and Nagapattinam have been known to top the state in egg collection as the coastlines contribute to the longest stretch in the state.

Published: 10th January 2023 05:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2023 05:33 AM   |  A+A-

Forest Department staff conserving Olive Ridley Turtle eggs at the Koozhaiyar hatchery In Sirkazhi Range | Express

Express News Service

MAYILADUTHURAI: Amid the coastal delta district witnessing the arrival of Olive Ridley Turtles in a high influx, the nesting season has picked up in pace over the past one week after a slow start to the season. Sources said over 4,000 eggs have been nested in Mayiladuthurai district, while the count stood at 1,800 in Nagapattinam district.

All the eggs nested in Mayiladuthurai have been collected by Sirkazhi Range officials. A Joseph Daniel, forest ranger in Sirkazhi, said, "Unsustainable fishing practices here led to undue delay in the arrival of turtles. However, we are now in the process of collecting batches of eggs and conserving them safely in hatcheries over the past one week."

The districts of Mayiladuthurai and Nagapattinam have been known to top the state in egg collection as the coastlines contribute to the longest stretch in the state. Employees of the forest guard, anti-poaching watchers, foresters and egg collection volunteers, led by range officers, have been collecting eggs laid by the turtles on the shores in the villages and fishing hamlets, and taking them to hatcheries at designated places to bury them in sand against human intervention.

In Sirkazhi range, over 1,400 eggs each are being nested in Koozhaiyar and Kottaimedu hatcheries, amounting to the hatcheries topping egg collection in the coastal delta. Around 1,200 eggs were preserved in Vanagiri. Nagapattinam Range registered the lowest number of eggs collected: around 500 are nested in Samanthampettai and 230 in Vizhunthamavadi.

The hatchery in Kameshwaram is yet to nest eggs. In Vedaranyam Range, 1,000 eggs were nested in the Kodiyakarai hatchery and 130 in the Arukatuthurai hatchery. B Ayub Khan, the forest ranger from Vedaranyam, said, "Arukatuthurai is just getting started, while Kodiyakarai is witnessing significant arrivals compared to previous years."

Turtle mortality has also been on the rise in recent years, with Nagapattinam range witnessing over 100 turtle deaths in the previous year. Olive Ridley Turtles are classified as 'vulnerable' in the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


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