Even as dark oil streaks were slathered seen on the sands of beaches along the coast here following the oil spill which took place on Saturday, volunteers working with the conservation of Olive Ridley turtles are a worried lot.
Every year, from January to April, Olive Ridley Turtles make a beeline for the sandy shores of beaches in Chennai and Kancheepuramwhere they nest. The Forest department as well as other organisations which are engaged in the conservation of the species are usually involved in patrolling the beaches to look for nests and take the eggs to hatcheries.
“For turtles which are nesting, they will find it tough to come on to the sand since oil sediments are there till the high tide line in a few spots. While volunteers who patrol the beaches from Neelankarai to Besant Nagar near the broken bridge usually spot a lot of crabs during the patrolling in the night, they were hardly able to spot a few ones last night and even those were seen with oil on them,” said Shravan Krishnan, a volunteer with the Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network(SSTCN).
"In the coming days, we will have to observe if there is a large impact on nesting activity as this is an important time in the annual nesting season," he added.
Volunteers further said that like the crabs, there would be several more micro organisms along the shore which they believe would be affected because of the oil spill.