Every year by March, lakhs of Olive Ridley turtles make a beeline near Sangameswaram beach to lay eggs but not this time around despite several artifical nests made for the visiting species from the far off seas.
Wildlife authorities of Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) have attributed the decline in the number of turtles this time to climate change, especially the rise in heat along the east coast. They have made 139 artificial nests in the three rookeries at Sangameswaram, lighthouse area, and Jinkapalem of Nagayalanka mandal to encourage Olive Ridley turtle to visit the part to lay eggs.
As the collection of eggs along the mests amounted to mere 4,259 eggs near the Sangameswaram, 3,847 eggs near the lighthouse, and 2,465 eggs near Jinkapalem, officials said the turtles may have found the beach too warm to visit.
Stretching over 115 kilometres, the east coast of the Krishna district was an ideal nesting ground for turtles but in January this year, hundreds of dead Olive Ridley Turtles washed ashore the Krishna district coastline of Bay of Bengal due to the nets of fishermen, who follow unfriendly fishing practices.
Olive Ridley Turtles have been classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as many fishing boats in the area do not have Turtle Excluder Device (TED), which lets turtles go off even after captured in the net.
The Wildlife Management in Eluru has roped in Yanadi tribal people to set up four rookeries for turtles at Jinakapalem, Sangameswaram, Lighthouse area and Eelachetladibba, which is in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary but of no use this year, according to officials.