Nature lovers are saviours of the endangered Olive Ridleys in a big way in some parts of Kozhikode’s coastline although this species of turtle continues to be under serious threat because of sand-mining which ruins the nesting site. Olive Ridley eggs also at times end up on the poachers’ dining table.
Attempts by some in Ezhukudikkal beach in Koilandi to poach eggs of the endangered species were foiled by a group of nature lovers recently, activists of Theeram Prakriti Samrakshana Samithi (which has been trying to protect the eggs of these turtles) reported on Friday. On Tuesday N.V. Santhosh, V.P. Prakasan, P.V. Mani, P.P. Pradeepan, Sreenivasan, Damu, V.P. Santhosh and Purushothaman called for help from the Theeram activists when they realised that the Olive Ridley eggs were about to be taken away. The eggs of the endangered Olive Ridley continue to be a much-sought after delicacy for some people of the locality though efforts have been going on for several years to save the turtles and their eggs. Olive Ridleys reach the shores to lay eggs every year.
Theeram activists recovered 120 eggs of the turtle from the site on Tuesday; these were then shifted to the artificial hatchery which they have set up in Kolavipalam. On Wednesday, 125 eggs were recovered and shifted to the hatchery after another turtle-lover sighted them near Payyoli beach. The first Olive Ridley laid eggs this season in Kolavipalam on October 14. Mr. M.T. Suresh Babu, president of Theeram, however, has reported the number of Olive Ridleys reaching Kolavipalam had been declining over the years because of habitat disturbances mainly in the form of sand-mining. There were times when up to 65 Olive Ridleys had reached Kolavipalam to lay eggs and in the past few years, it has been less than 15.