Berhampur, March 12 (LocalWire): More than 170 carcasses of Olive Ridley tortoises, mostly female, were found near Goplapur in the last two days.
Forest officials on Monday found 156 decomposed carcasses of the endangered species between Gopalpur to Arjeepalli and another 17 on Tuesday.
‘We have buried the decomposed carcasses after finding them in the nearby areas,’ divisional forest officer, Berhampur, Asish Kumar Behera said. He, however, said no Olive Ridley carcass was found near the mass nesting site in the Purunabandh-Gokharakuda stretch, near river Rushikulya mouth.
The DFO ruled out the possibility of the turtle deaths due to illegal movement of mechanised fishing trawlers off the Ganjam coast but could not pinpoint the reason behind the deaths of so many turtles.
‘We have taken stringent measures to restrict mechanized trawlers near the coast and there was no report of fishing trawlers in the no fishing zone, earmarked by the government,’ he said.
The government has restricted fishing within 20-km from the coast from 1 November to 31 May 31 as the turtles congregate in the coast for mating and nesting. Behera said 12 turtle protection camps, including one off-shore camp at Purunabandh have been set up off the Ganjam coast.
‘Two speed boats, two trawlers and a country-made boat have been deployed near Markandi, on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border to prevent the entry of mechanized fishing trawlers from Andhra Pradesh side,’ the DFO added.