Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Feb 25:
Ahead of the mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles, at least 40 turtles of the endangered species were found dead along the beach of Odisha’s Pilgrim Town Puri.
Carcasses of the endangered turtles were spotted along the coast near Digabareni Khunti (Weather Pole) here yesterday.
Tourists and local people gathered at the site to witness the rare species of turtles which were lying bloated and decomposed. The forest officials buried the carcasses of the turtles to prevent it from being prayed on by predators like wild dogs, hyenas and jackals and minimise stench emanating from it.
Multiple injuries were found on the bodies of the turtles which points towards possibility of them being hit by fishing trawlers in the sea.
“We suspect that the turtles were killed after being hit by the fan blades of the fishing trawlers in the sea,” a forest official said.
The dead turtles found along the coast in the holy town have raised concerns among the environmentalists and wildlife researchers as many whales were found dead on various beaches along the Odisha coast.
Notably, Olive Ridley turtles throng the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting during January-February. During this period, fishing activities are banned in 20 km distance from the beach to ensure the safety of the breeding turtles.
Earlier on February 17, over 150 dead turtles and a bottlenose dolphin was found near Mangala Nadi and Shri Vihar area in the city.
Besides, over 1000 dead turtles were spotted along the coast near Paradip under Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara district.