Endangered sea turtles left stranded in Gujarat

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 21:54

Kolkata: Marine conservationists are trying to rescue a group of endangered sea turtles which are stranded inside a Gujarat lake after construction of large road culverts blocked their entry into the Gulf of Kutch.

A team of researchers from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) have found that in Gujarat`s Armabada lake, a group of 20-30 turtles, Hawksbill sea turtle, Green turtle and Olive Ridley turtle have been trapped for around a decade.

"The lake is connected to the sea through a backwater channel. These turtles might have come here in search of food but the large turtles could not go back to the sea where they came from as the culverts narrowed the mouth of the canal," wildlife biologist B C Choudhury said.
Since then the small population of turtles are stuck in the lake spread over 5-6 hectares.

With their habitat being spread over the Indian coastline, all the three species of turtles are regarded as threatened.

As plenty of food is available in the waterbody, the reptiles have however survived successfully in their new home. "No mortality has been reported. There is plenty of sea grass and a large bloom of jellyfish in the lake and I think the turtles are feeding on it," Mr Choudhury said.

As there are no sandbanks near the lake, breeding of turtles is impossible.
"They do not have a future in the lake and therefore we are trying to rescue them back into the Gulf of Kutch," he said.

Together with the Gujarat forest department, they are planning to tag them with satellite transmitters as it is easy to catch them unlike the ones living in the open sea.

"After we release them back into the sea with satellite tagging we will be able to map the sea grass beds of the Gulf of Kutch. This will be the additional benefit of this project," the scientist said.

They have estimated that the project would cost around Rs. 15-20 lakh.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 21:54

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