Lifestyle Environment 21 Jan 2018 Olive Ridely visits ...

Olive Ridely visits Varkala beach

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARCHANA RAVI
Published Jan 21, 2018, 6:46 am IST
Updated Jan 21, 2018, 7:21 am IST
Endangered species not seen for 10 years.
A tourist with the Olive Ridley turtle at Varkala beach on Friday.
 A tourist with the Olive Ridley turtle at Varkala beach on Friday.

Thiruvananthapuram: Tourists and morning walkers at Varkala beach had a surprise visitor on the dawn of Friday, a turtle unhurriedly moving towards the sea. No one, at that time, had a clue that this was Olive Ridley, an endangered species of turtle. One of the first to turn the phone camera on, Varkala Tourism Development Association Joint Secretary Lenin Kumar had heard about turtle sightings on the beach, but that was more than a decade ago. This might be the first sighting of Olive Ridley reported in over a decade’s time.

A couple of decades ago, Olive Ridley used to come in large numbers for breeding to all Kerala coasts according to A. Bijukumar, Head, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala. “However we have heard no recent reports of Olive Ridley in visting district’s coasts. Various developmental activities and sea walls have made the coast no longer accessible to turtles. Turtles, once they find a suitable coast, ususally return to the same coast the following year. So it is possible that Olive Ridley visited Varkala last year as well, but there has been no report,” he says.

 

Since it usually arrives at the coast at night and leaves by morning, it is likely that the turtle has laid eggs. As it is an endangered species included in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, social Forestry officials rushed to the coast on Saturday, and inspected the site. Since the beach is always crowded, a fence around the site would draw attention. They consulted Kamaleshwaram-based turtle conservationist K. Praveen Kumar, who has advised them to wait for 35 days. Praveen is the founder member of Neythal, which has been taking care of turtles for over a decade now.

 

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Location: India, Kerala




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