Olive ridley carcass found by volunteers during eco heritage walk in Thoothukudi

Speaking to TNIE, researcher Thanigaivel of ATREE said that the turtle was at least two-years-old and allegedly died due to injuries.
Representative image
Representative image

THOOTHUKUDI: During an ‘eco heritage trail’ conducted on the occasion of ‘World Turtle Day’, nature enthusiasts spotted the carcass of an Olive Ridley turtle at the Thoothukudi Harbour Beach on Sunday. The trail, organised by Pearl City Nature Trust in association with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), saw the participation of over 30 volunteers from nature clubs of Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts.

As the participants embarked on the heritage walk highlighting the importance of preserving turtles along the Thoothukudi new harbour beach, they stumbled upon the carcass of an Olive Ridley turtle. Intriguingly, the incident occurred when Vinoth Ravindran, state coordinator of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), was explaining to the volunteers about marine creatures contribution to the sea ecosystem.

Speaking to TNIE, researcher Thanigaivel of ATREE said the turtle was at least two years old and allegedly died due to injuries.“It might have died two weeks back as the carcass was in a decomposed state. Moreover, spotting the carcass during the trail was shocking for the nature enthusiasts, as it timely vindicated the sorry state of the turtles along the eastern coasts of Tamil Nadu.”

According to ATREE nature educator Antony, Olive Ridley turtles reach out to sandy beaches along the east coast to lay eggs once in every year. The turtles also face several imminent threats like poaching (for meat) and dog attacks, while they come to the shore for laying eggs, he said.

Further, development projects like ports and tourist centres sprouting along the coastal areas also endanger the habitat of these species, opined reptile researcher Rameshwaran Mariappan. “The operations of fishing harbours, active movements of mechanised and country craft boats, traffic of ships and vessels to ports, are detrimental to the turtles,” he said, expressing concern over the absence of  Turtle Excluder Device (TED) in the trawlers used by mechanised fishing vessels.

Though various turtle conservation plans exist with the forest department, which operates hatcheries for turtle eggs, the current scenario leaves a strong impression that marine species are losing their habitat along the coastal areas, Mariappan added. Pearl City Nature trust president Murali Ganesan, and Sakthi Manickam were present.

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The New Indian Express