Thiruvananthapuram: Olive ridley turtle eggs were found spoiled at a nesting site at Thottappally in Alappuzha the other day dismaying conservation activists. An entire clutch, which could hold up to 130 eggs, has gone bad. WWF received similar reports from two clutches at a mass nesting site at Chavakkad, Thrissur.
The searing heat has been cited as a likely reason for the massive loss. WWF state director Renjan Mathew Varghese says, “the temperature rise seems to be the most apparent reason for the eggs to get spoiled.”
Normally, it takes about 50 days for these eggs to hatch. “The nesting season is usually from November to February. However, the eggs which got spoiled were laid in the latter half of March. This is delayed,” he says.
Since Olive ridleys are endangered species, local conservation groups like Surya Arts and Sports Club at Chavakkadu, and Green Roots Foundation at Thottappally have been safeguarding the clutches. The volunteers relocate eggs from areas with tidal fluctuations and build fences to guard them from stray dogs.
Volunteers had said there was rain the other day, which could have made the soil above the eggs compact. In such a case, there is a chance that hatchlings would get trapped under the sand and die. “But we ruled out this possibility as there were no dead hatchlings, only eggs gone bad,” he says.
There is one more clutch at Thottappally, which is yet to hatch. “The volunteers are now sprinkling water on the clutch and have covered the site with sacks. Next week, we will be visiting Nileswaram in Kasargod and Kolavipalam in Kozhikode where organisations like Neythal and Theeram Nature Conservation Society are active. Let’s hope the remaining eggs survive,” says Renjan....