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Home » Headline (Archive) » 16 February 2013

India: Safety of Olive Ridley’s turns turtle 16 Feb 2013

By Neshwin Almeida

A female Olive Ridley turtle slowly crawls on the beach, in the quite of the night. After long, if finds a quite spot, digs a hole in the sand and lays more than 100 eggs. It then covers the place and quickly makes a dash to the sea.

Next morning local fishermen in a hurry to go into the sea, push their boats over the sand and in the melee runs over the nesting site and smashes the eggs.

The next day another turtle comes on the beach and lays eggs close to the water (shoreline). Luckily, this time the wildlife guards spots the nesting site. They remove the eggs and shift it to a safety spot on the beach. But unfortunately, the site is close to the shacks that play loud music and is frequented by hordes of tourists. The noise reduces the chances of hatching.

Many times the Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites at Galgibag-Talpona are left abandoned and exposed to the careless sunbathing tourists, stray dogs and loud noise emanating from the shacks.

Six turtle nesting sites currently exist at Galgibag beach and three at Agonda. Although the wildlife department is in-charge to oversee the nesting sites, from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm on Friday last there was nobody present at the turtle protection site office on the Galgibag coastline. When confronted, the Wildlife Department told The Goan that they were off for lunch break.

“We have two guards who patrol during the day and two at night. We constantly check for hatchlings and protect the nesting sites. We move the eggs to a safer spot in case it is too close to the high tide line,” said Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary Range Officer, N G Waingankar who also overlooks the nesting sites at Galgibag, Agonda and Talpona.

If the eggs are laid close to the water then they have to be shifted to a safer spot. That is the safety protocol followed all over the world.

“Quite often if the eggs are laid too close to the water or shoreline they can rot but if they are at a distance, they need not be shifted,” pointed out Dr Nitin Sawant, Member Secretary, Goa Diversity Board, who has been associated with turtle nesting for over twelve years.

There are many who believe that the wildlife guards that are responsible to oversee the nesting sites, do not do their job with dedication.

“The wildlife officials move the eggs from the original nesting site nearer to the turtle protection site shed which is hardly 100 meters from the approach road at the beach. They move these eggs so that the night patrol guards have less work of patrolling the beach. This reduces the chances of hatchings,” said Galgibag resident Ranjiv Pereira, who has been fighting for the turtles and was part of Fr Mariano Provencio’s movement in 2006 to protect the turtle that come to Galgibag.

Ranjiv also pointed out that the nesting sites setup nearer to the road causes light and sound disturbance, which is a hindrance to the hatching process.

“The Poinguinim panchayat has installed dust bins next to the nesting units, in which the tourists dump waste food attracting stray dogs. These strays can damage the eggs or even dig them out and eat them,” the range officer said.

Waingankar pointed out that the Poinguinim panchayat has always failed to support the wildlife board in helping to reduce the light and sound along the beach.

The shacks setup in private properties, along the beach, have lights glowing and loud music played till the wee hours that distracts the turtle and scares the female turtle, forcing it to lay its eggs on the shoreline that are washed away or rot.

“The panchayat have to revoke licences to the shacks. The panchayat should also not allow foreigners to stay in homes of the locals who converted part of their homes into guest rooms. Only then we can have more hatchlings and nesting sites,” the range officer said.

Surendra Lolyenkar, Poinguinim Panchayat Secretary said that due process has to be followed to carry out demolition. But he forgets that his own office issues a NOC to run the shacks, even though protection of the turtle is mandatory with Supreme Court guidelines issued towards the endangered species.

Down the hatch

Details of turtle nesting’s, eggs laid and hatchings for Nov 2012-Jan 2013 at Galgibag, Talpona and Agonda

Date and time of laying eggs
Date of hatching
No of hatching released
No of eggs not hatched
No of young one’s dead
Total no of eggs laid
Nov 26 (5.30 am)
Jan 14
Dec 09 (4pm)
Jan 28 (10. 45pm)
Dec 11 (3.30am)
Jan 31 (2.25am)
Dec 12 (3am)
Jan 01 (11.45pm)


Source: //
Actual link: http://www.thegoan.net/story.php?id=3066

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