Ranger Delays Release Of Olive Ridley Turtles To Show Them To Tourists First

May 08, 2022 | 07:19 IST

Ranger Delays Release Of Olive Ridley Turtles To Show Them To Tourists First

A ranger stationed at the turtle nesting site in Morjim charged Delhi tourists money for providing the ‘exit date and time’ over the phone; Instagram-mad tourists are more concerned about photos than safety of newborn Olive Ridleys

STHRIGDHARA NAIK

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PANJIM: In an absolutely shocking revelation, a ranger has been harshly criticized for intentionally delaying the release of olive ridley turtles into the sea in Morjim.

A Delhi-based tourist on condition of anonymity told the Herald that the ranger stationed at the turtle nesting site informed them of the release date and time over the phone and charged them for the information provided.

Condemning this highly unethical and anti-wildlife protection act at turtle nesting sites, Morjim panchayat member Pawan Morje said such things should not be tolerated and demanded that the Department of initiates forests

stern action against all those involved in such acts.

A resident of Morjim also alleged that the ranger does not release hatchlings all at once but keeps a few in the bucket for his own benefit and releases them after the tourists he contacted arrive on the site.

When contacted, Santosh Kumar, Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF), warned that such things would not be tolerated and strict action would be taken against the rangers, who are involved in such illegal activities.

Herald visited the nesting site and was surprised to see a mob entering the barricade and lifting the young hatchlings ignoring the instructions given by the rangers. Many domestic tourists have been found deflecting newborn babies from their forward path in the direction comfortable for them to take a photo. Few newborns on their way to the water were seen falling under the feet of tourists at the “place of release”.

APCCF Kumar said the Forestry Department will investigate the matter and ensure that the barricades are widened so as not to allow visitors to enter the release site.

Sarita Fernandes, Founder and Chief Trustee of the Morjim Sea Turtle Trust (now Goa Sea Turtle Trust) said: “Olive Ridley hatchlings should be released immediately after hatching. Hatchling turtles have a yolk sac on their belly that sustains them for about a week before they become able to find their own food. This pocket of food also gives them the energy to swim out to sea and escape predators on the shore.

Fernandes added: “When we keep them inside the bucket, maybe for several reasons, the hatchlings tend to waste all their energy inside the bucket trying to swim frantically out to sea. an attempt to escape, hatchlings lose precious energy that they would otherwise use when crawling out to sea.”

The ranger said hatching takes about 45 to 60 days to hatch and emerge from the egg shell. This year, a total of 5,118 eggs were laid at the seashore, of which 4,339 hatchlings from 46 nests were released into the sea at Morjim.

However, he warned that multiple threats exist even after releasing hatchlings into seawater. There are marine predators like seabirds and fish. Hatchlings also fall victim to crabs, mammals and birds on their way to the water, he added.

Fernandes demanded that tourists and visitors who do not listen to rangers and follow the code of conduct be fined under the provisions of Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1984.

Morje said the protected nesting site is the pride of Morjim village and urged rangers working at hatcheries and employed to protect hatchlings to maintain strict vigilance and not allow visitors to enter the site. release site.

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