Goa has a coastline that is 160 km long of which 60 km are sandy beaches. These beaches are definitely amazing for a nice relaxing day or a swim. But let’s look at them from a different perspective. Tourism is on one side and on the other side we have sea turtles. Specifically, the Olive Ridley turtles.
Goa’s beaches make good nesting grounds for these turtles. Growing approximately 2 feet in length the Olive Ridley turtles lay their eggs from the month of October and it continues until May which also includes the hatching period. The sad part for them is that this is exactly the same time the tourist season starts and ends in Goa.
In the years from 2000 to 2001, the highest recorded protected pits were 34 which had approximately 3,500 turtle eggs, this was at Galgibag beach. Agonda beach on the other hand also had about 1,886 eggs protected from 2001-2002.
Olive Ridley turtles have been protected by the forest department since 1999, they have been visiting our beaches for a very long time and laying their eggs here. The other species of turtles that have been observed are leatherbacks.
Over the years the number of turtles that come to beaches has reduced drastically, this year the number of eggs recorded are 90. When we compare these numbers to the past few years it is definitely alarming!
Some of the reasons for the decline is the illegal constructions that take place on the beaches. Turtles don’t nest in brightly lit areas, which is caused due to the increase in shacks on the beaches. To add to the light they also have loud music which makes it a more hazardous area for the turtles to lay their eggs. Other reasons could also be illegal sand extraction and deforestation.
This is a serious threat to the environment and must be dealt with immediately. If this continues there won’t be any more turtles visiting our beaches which will most definitely have an aftermath. The beaches are already losing its beauty due to many reasons, this might be our last hope to save them!