Olive Ridley carcasses sighted in Gahirmatha

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Kendrapara, Dec 13 (UNI) Over hundred carcasses of endangered Olive ridley Sea turtles were sighted at the Ridleys Marine sanctuary, one of the largest rookeries of the species during the past one and half months, Forest department sources said here today.

But unofficial sources put the number of carcasses lying on the sandy beaches of the Gahiramath at more than six hundred.

Official sources said the turtles were killed when they got trapped in the nets of mechanised fishing vessels during the mating season.

Lakhs of turtles congregate in the Gahirmatha Marine sanctuary under Bhitar Kanika National Park for 'arribada's Spanish term for mass nesting.

In the past two years more than 4,000 endangered Olive Ridley were killed during the mating season when they entangled with the fishing nets of the machined trawlers.

Though the State Forest Department had banned fishing within 20 km radius of the sea coast, but illegal fishing was going on in the banned zone.

Shortage of staff and a fear of life threat to the forest guards by fishermen were said to be reason for the failure of the Forest department to enforce the Act strictly.

Turtle conservationists alleged that the Gahirmatha rookery, stated to be the largest rookery, has become the biggest graveyard over the years.

Though protected under a central law, more than 30,000 turtles were killed during the past five years by the fishing trawler. The turtle mortality rate was estimated to be more than 10,000 per year, they alleged.

UNI

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