The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
300 Sea Turtles Found Dead on Indian Beach
As many as 300 olive ridley sea turtles and a bottlenose dolphin were found dead on Puri Beach in Odisha, India on Wednesday. While the exact cause of this horrific mass death is currently unclear, according to reports, the turtles might have been killed after being hit by trawlers who were operating illegally in the sea.
It's not unusual for turtles to wash up dead on Puri beach during winter, but this is the first time so many turtles have perished, The Times of India reported.
According to the report, forest and marine fisheries authorities seized two trawlers for carrying out unauthorized fishing despite a ban that prohibits trawling between November and May.
"This is unfortunate that a large number of olive ridley turtles died on the beach. It seemed they were hit by trawlers," Puri Collector Arabind Agarwal said.
The turtles, named after their olive-colored shell, are listed as "vulnerable" by the World Wildlife Fund because "they nest in a very small number of places, and therefore, any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population."
Jagannath Bastia, president of the volunteer organization Beach Protection Council of Odisha, told The Times of India that "trawlers continued to carry out illegal fishing during the ban period due to poor patrolling by marine police and forest authorities."
Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created sand sculptures of turtles and sculpted the message "Give Us Space To Live" on the beach to bring attention to the incident.
"I felt sad to see these turtles and never saw such a huge number of dead turtles on Puri beach," Pattnaik said. "I appeal to the government through my sand sculpture to find out the cause of death of turtles and take measures for their protection."
It's clear from this story that humans can have a profoundly negative impact on ocean life. Earlier this month, an adult female orca named Lulu was found dead on the Scottish island of Tiree with deep lesions on her body. After a necropsy was performed, experts with the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme concluded that Lulu had been “chronically entangled" in abandoned fishing gear for several days and likely drowned from entanglement.
Plastic pollution is another devastating culprit. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation warned in a report published Tuesday that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Besides turtles, plastic litter harms the entire ocean chain, from whales, to fish and even plankton as larger pieces of plastic break down into microscopic pieces.
Last December, a team of researchers came across an olive ridley sea turtle with a 5-inch plastic fork lodged deeply in its nostril on a beach in Costa Rica. Luckily, the turtle was saved.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.
By Nanticha Ocharoenchai
In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
By Whitney E. Akers
- "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.
- Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.
- We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.
Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.