Hundreds of olive ridley turtles found dead in India

Olive Ridleys being taken away for mass burial on the Andhra Pradesh coast A JCB takes some of the turtles away for a mass burial

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More than 900 olive ridley turtles have been found dead along the coast of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, conservationists say.

Wildlife groups said trawlers fishing illegally had not used devices to stop turtles getting entangled in nets.

Experts say such a large number of turtles has not been found dead on the southern Indian coast for 10 years.

Olive ridleys are endangered in India. They are one of five species of marine turtle to mate and nest on its shores.

Olive Ridleys washed up on the Andhra Pradesh coast Wildlife groups blame trawlers fishing illegally for the deaths

The turtles were found dead near an estuary along the southern coast of Andhra Pradesh, about 130km (80 miles) north of Chennai (Madras).

"The trawlers are supposed to fish beyond eight kilometres [five miles] from the coast. But we found out that this time they were fishing in less than four kilometres from the beach to catch shrimps. As a result, many turtles got entangled in the nets," Dr Supraja Dharini of Tree Foundation, a marine conservation organisation based in the city, told the BBC.

Tens of thousands of olive ridley turtles come to the shores of eastern and southern India to lay eggs every year between January and April.

In 2003 more than 3,000 olive ridleys were found dead on the eastern coast of Orissa state.

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