At least 1,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles have been found dead in an Orissa beach since November, a senior state wildlife official said Wednesday.
The carcasses were spotted at various places between the mouths of the Devi and Dhamra rivers under Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, one of the world’s largest turtle nesting sites, in Kendrapada district, 174 km from here.
‘We have spotted the carcasses of at least 1,000 turtles this winter. Some of them were spotted this week,’ Divisional Forest Officer P.K. Behera told IANS.
Around this time last year, the total carcasses of turtles found on the same beach were about 2,000, he said.
The turtle mortality has come down this year due to various protection measures the government has initiated, he said.
Citing the measures, Behera said government has set up several camps near the coast and deployed dozens of officials to keep vigil.
The turtles arrive and congregate in the shallow coastal waters in October, they nest between December and March, and most hatchlings emerge by May.
Thousands of turtles have already arrived for mating. Behera said forest officials have already spotted the turtles in the sea water. They are likely to climb ashore for mass nesting in February, he said. About 700,000-800,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles nest every winter at this site.