Olive Ridley turtles skip mass nesting on Thottappally coast

The Olive Ridley turtle eggs laid at Pallana beach near Thottappally.

The Olive Ridley turtle eggs laid at Pallana beach near Thottappally.

The Olive Ridley sea turtles nesting season has a late start in Alappuzha. Environmentalists, last week, stumbled upon two clutches with a total of 270 eggs on Pallana beach near Thottappally. The eggs were relocated to a hatchery of Green Roots Nature Conservation Forum, a Thottappally-based conservation group, for incubation.

The Olive Ridley turtles, which are legally protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, nesting season in the State stretches from August to March. Female sea turtles use to come ashore at night to lay eggs.

The Thottappally coast, which has long been considered as one of the prime locations for the egg-laying turtles, was witnessing fewer Olive Ridley landings in recent years. Turtle conservation groups fear the turtles have started to give Thottappally coast a miss due to reasons ranging from human interference, mineral sand-mining to stray dog menace.

“The late start to the nesting season was likely due to discrepancies in climatic condition. But, of late, there has been a decline in the number of Olive Ridley arrivals on the shore. We have found only two nests so far this season, which is a worrying sign. The shore is disturbed and it is forcing the turtles to skip the place,” says Saji Jayamohan, secretary, Green Roots Nature Conservation Forum.

Last season, the forum found six nests along the coast with around 1,000 eggs. Some 600 hatchlings were let into the sea.

One of the reasons for fewer arrivals, according to turtle conservation groups, is the illuminations gleaming from high mast and other artificial light sources in the area. Olive Ridley turtles prefer quite dark sandy beaches for nesting. The place is also a paradise for stray dogs, which attack the turtles arriving on the shore. An Olive Ridley turtle had returned to sea without laying eggs after being attacked by strays in the last breeding season.

“The shore from Thottappally to Pallana is no more be considered a natural nesting habitat of Olive Ridley. The mining activities have resulted in severe coastal erosion and caused the coastline to shrink. The width has been reduced from 45 metres to 30 metres. In some places, the width has decreased to five metres,” Mr. Jayamohan adds.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 18, 2022 12:52:02 pm |