May 19, 2021 3:04:12 am
Cyclone Tauktae not only took lives and caused widespread damage to houses, fields and farms along Maharashtra’s coastline but also struck a blow to a fragile piece of the coastal ecosystem by damaging Olive Ridley nests in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts in the Konkan region.
Environment activists fear that between 2,000 to 3,000 Olive Ridley eggs, which were due to hatch in the next 10-15 days, may not survive the damage caused to the nests. Nine Olive Ridley nests on Kolthare beach, eight in Guhagar, two in Dabhol and one each on Karde, Velas, Anjarle and Gaohkhadi, were damaged. The hatchery in Kolthare alone was incubating an estimated 861 eggs while Guhagar had about 776 eggs. At Ratnagiri’s Vayangani, four Turtle nests were damaged while two were destroyed in Shiroda beach.
“Fortunately, most of the eggs had already hatched during April and May. As the seawater entered the hatchery some nests that had not yet hatched were significantly damaged on Monday. Moisture in the nests may also make them prone to fungal growth, rendering the eggs infertile. We are going to continue to watch over the nests for another two weeks, but it is unlikely that the eggs will hatch,” said Harshal Karve, a marine biologist with the Mangrove Foundation.
Karve added, “Due to the increasing number of cyclone alerts for the west coast, we may have to build permanent hatchery on a trial basis at some locations.”
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