"In Digha intense tourism pressure has resulted in the decline of turtles and based on information revealed by local people, no nesting population of Olive Ridley turtles was observed in the area in the last five to six years," says a latest study by WWF on the status of marine turtles.
    
East Midnapore's 60-km-long coastline, which has popular tourist beaches like Mandarmani, Digha and Shankarpur, is less than 200 km away from Kolkata.
     
The coastline extends to Odisha where in Gahirmatha beach and elsewhere lakhs of Olive Ridleys congregate annually for mass nesting.
     
The study, conducted by a team led by Punyasloke Bhadury of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata, observed that cars and other four-wheelers were being driven along the Mandarmani beach.
    
Such activity may have resulted in rapid decline of nesting Olive Ridleys which nest on sand, observes the ecologist in the report. He said that rampant tourism continued to pose a serious threat to turtles which might be nesting along the coastal areas of East Midnapore.
     
Developmental activity associated with tourism, he pointed out, could also be affecting the nesting population, if any, in Dadanpatrabar. Beach erosion is another serious threat to occasional nesting populations of Olive Ridleys reported by local inhabitants.

(Agencies)

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