Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The turtle twixt plated decks...

It's been a strange year for turtles, especially the endangered Olive Ridleys. The Indian government has signed an MoU that might protect them... but Greenpeace India warns that a new port project at Dhamra poses a potentially deadly threat to thousands of turtles. They're running a "Don't Say Tata to the Turtles" campaign:
"The proposed port is to be located close to the Bhitarkanika National Park, a major nesting ground for the endangered Olive Ridleys (1). In recent years, as many as 250,000 turtles have been known to nest at the Gahirmatha beach in one season, making it the world's largest rookery...
"The huge and prolonged construction activity that a port of this size will require will severely disturb the ecosystem. Once the port is functional, the increased volumes of shipping traffic will wreak havoc in the offshore turtle congregation zones. Moreover, the resulting pollution from oil spills and chemical leaks will pollute the waters and eventually drive off the Ridleys" said Sanjiv Gopal, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India."

And this is kind of sad, but the tsunami that destroyed the lives of so many people and crippled sections of the fishing industry actually did turtles a good turn, according to this report by Harsh Kabra:

"The highly endangered Olive Ridley turtles have had a safe breeding season this year along the coast of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Large numbers of the Lepidochelys oliveacea turtles are normally killed when they get entangled in trawler fishing nets.
But fishing activity in 2005 was significantly reduced because of last December's tsunami. Fishermen lost their equipment in the disaster and were scared to venture out to sea. As a result, very few turtle deaths were reported during the November-April breeding and nesting period."


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