Bhubaneswar, India — The carcasses of at least 100 endangered Olive Ridley turtles have been spotted on an Odisha beach in the past one month, a wildlife official said Thursday. At least 35 people have been arrested for fishing in prohibited zone since November.
"Many of the turtles had grievous injury marks which indicate that the endangered species were killed by mechanized fishing trawlers and washed ashore," a senior official of the park told IANS.
The dead turtles were spotted at various places on Gahirmatha beach in Bhitarkanika National Park, some 174 km from here.
Gahirmatha is one of the world's largest turtle nesting sites in the state's Kendrapara district, where over half a million endangered Olive Ridley 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 get killed every year mostly by mechanized trawlers despite a ban on all type of fishing within 20 km off the shore near the nesting site from Nov 1 to May 31.
The official said at least 35 people have been arrested since November for fishing in the prohibited water. "We have so far seized eight mechanized trawlers and 10 local fishing boats," he said.