More than 20 Olive Ridley turtles washed ashore dead in Pattipulam near Mahabalipuram on Thursday
Usually environmental activists, turtle conservation groups and officials from the forest department build a hatchery for the turtles in the seashore during the nesting season. Every morning, the eggs are collected and kept safely in the hatchery. The eggs take 30-45 days to hatch after which forest department officials collect the baby turtles and let them go into the sea.
This year, following the pandemic and rainfall, the hatchery could not be prepared on time. Also, according to sources, over the years, the number of volunteers helping the forest department too has dwindled.
With low manpower and little help available, most of the turtles that came to the shore could not return to the safely. While the reason for their deaths has not been confirmed, experts are of the view that the turtles may have died after getting hit by boats or getting stuck in fishing nets.
A dog inspects a turtle's carcass
Locals informed the forest department after carcasses of more than 20 turtles were found at the beach on Wednesday and a few more were found on Thursday. Officials are now in the process of setting up hatcheries to prevent further deaths.