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Construction of lighthouse may hamper nesting of turtles

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Main pillars being laid for the lighthouse at Prayagi village in Ganjam district on Wednesday. —
Main pillars being laid for the lighthouse at Prayagi village in Ganjam district on Wednesday. —

Staff Reporter

Rushikulya rookery and Kantiagada major nesting place of Olive ridleys

BERHAMPUR: Environmentalists and local volunteers active in the protection of Olive Ridley turtles near Rushikulya rookery coast are worried about the establishment of a new lighthouse at Prayagi.

The new lighthouse is being constructed at a distance of five km stretch of coast line between Rushikulya rookery and Kantiagada, major nesting place of Olive ridleys.

As per the environmental activists this new lighthouse after its inception would hamper the conducive environment of this coastline for the nesting of Olive Ridley turtles.

Members of the Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee (RSTPC), who play major role in the protection of Olive Ridleys who come to the coast near Rushikulya rookery for nesting, are a worried lot.

Leader of RSTPC Rabindranath Sahu said the light of coming from the proposed lighthouse would mislead the newly-hatched Olive ridley hatchlings, towards the lighthouse rather than the sea.

Light sensitive

The Olive Ridley hatchlings are light sensitive. So, during the hatching time of Olive Ridley eggs, the bright street lights of nearby townships and industrial units like Jayashree Chemicals are ordered to be shut down at night so that the hatchlings are not misguided by the light to travel towards the land rather than getting into the sea.

The environmental activists have suggested for shifting of the lighthouse by another five km to the north so that its light would not affect the Olive Ridley nesting site.

But this light house has already got environmental clearance from the Central government. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Berhampur A.K. Jena said as per the suggestions made by experts, the light house will not have much impact on its periphery.

But the environmental activists ask if the hatchlings can sense small streetlights of far off township then how they can ignore the bright light of the light house.


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