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Olive Ridley mass nesting site under threat in Orissa-Greenpeace

Written by: Staff
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Bhubaneswar, Apr 3 (UNI) Greenpeace India, an environmental group, today demonstrated against the mass killings of Olive Ridleys at Devi river mouth, one of the three mass nesting sites along the Orissa coast.

Greenpeace activists staged protest demonstrations before the Chief Wildlife Warden Office here to mourn the death of thousands of endangered Olive Ridleys along the coast due to alleged callous attitude of the forest department officials.

Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Ashish Fernandes who released a status report on the mass killing of the Olive Ridleys at a news conference here said the Ridleys would be pushed further towards extinction if no conservation measures were adopted by the Orissa government to save them from the impending threat of illegal fishing and trawling in no trawling zone.

He said Greenpeace has documented the evidence of 2000 dead turtles washed ashore in the Devi river mouth during a three month study due to illegal fishing in the area.

''This will be just a fraction of Ridley population killed every year along the Orissa coast as many carcasses were never washed ashore'',Mr.Fernandes said.

It would be more disturbing to note that the Devi River mouth had been witnessing sporadic nesting instead of Mass nesting for the last seven years clearly indicating that the Olive Ridleys were no more safe at the nesting site, he added.

Greenpeace held the Orissa forest department solely responsible for the high mortality of the turtle as they have not yet implemented the directives of the Central Empowered Committee set up by the Supreme Court to help conserve the turtle.

He said Orissa was one of the three mass nesting sites in the world after Costa Rica and Mexico where the Olive Ridleys come in thousands and even lakhs for mass nesting.

But if the present trend of turtle mortality continued unabated then a time would come when the mass nesting sites- Gahirmatha Ruishikulya river mouth and Devi river mouth would be wiped out from the map of the mass nesting sites in the world.

Mr Fernandes said they were shocked at the callous attitude of senior bureaucrats of the state forest department in dealing with the conservation measure for the Olive Ridley in the Orissa coast.

He said the forest department should immediately facilitate the demarcation of the no-fishing zones at Devi, Rushikulya and Gahirmatha and spend the Rs.1 crore sanctioned by the Centre on the protection and conservation of the turtles. The money he said though sanctioned for long back, had been lying unutilised.

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