It was a horrific site in Puri as carcasses of hundreds of Olive Ridley turtles were washed ashore on Wednesday. The news has set off alarm bells among conservationists, more so because they fall under the endangered category.
Thousands of marine turtles swim towards the Odisha coast for nesting every winter. Illegal trawlers and fishing nets, however, act as a death trap for them in the seas despite a ban on fishing along the coast. Winter is also the time when they mate in high seas. The beach from near Hotel Mayfair towards Chakratirtha Road was littered with bodies of the dead marine turtles. The Puri-Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary put the number at a staggering 1,200 bodies over the last three days. The carcass of a three-foot long sub-adult bottlenose dolphin also drifted ashore.
Talking about the incident, the Divisional Forest Officer Chitta Ranjan Mishra said, “Given the condition of the carcasses, the turtles are believed to have died in the sea and were washed ashore by the southerly wind which has been blowing for the last two days.”Famous sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has created a sand sculpture of turtles protesting their death with a message “Give us space to live” at Puri beach.