PURI -- Carcasses of over 150 Olive Ridley turtles and a bottlenose dolphin washed ashore were yesterday recovered by Forest department officials, a top official said.
The carcasses were found on the beach near Pantha Niwas.
"We suspect that the turtles were killed after being hit by the fishing trawlers in the sea," said Sarat Chandra Behera, an official of the Puri-Balukhand forest range, adding that the carcasses have been sent for post mortem.
The turtles in large number come to Gahirmatha, mouth of rivers Devi and Rushikulya in Odisha coast, for annual nesting, he said.
Though there is a prohibition on fishing in 20 km distance from the beach in these three identified places, the trawler operators undertake fishing illegally there, Behera said.
"We have to first check the reason behind deaths of turtles in such high number. We will direct the agencies concerned to look into the matter and take necessary action," Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal said.
Recently, scores of whales were washed ashore to the Chennai beach. Despite all efforts by fishermen, at least 45 of them died while the rest were rescued and put back in the sea.
Noted sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik, who had created sand sculptors on the beach, said, "Today, I found hundreds of dead turtles at the beach. I felt sad to see such a huge number of dead turtles".
Patnaik appealed to the government through sand sculpture to find out the cause of death of turtles and also appealed to the people for protecting these sea animals.
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