Kendrapara: Gahirmatha beach in Bhitarkanika National Park is famous worldwide as the nesting site of Olive Ridley turtles, a report said. The place is visited by lakhs of turtles from far off places for mating and laying eggs every year.
The state government also tried to promote its conservation by naming the turtles as Olly and using it as a mascot in various sports tournaments.
However, Olly was found missing in a new logo released by the Rajnagar forest department on Bhitarkanika National Park.
This has sparked sharp resentment among environmentalists as they apprehend that keeping out Olly from the new logo might derail the turtle conservation project in Gahirmatha and rob it of the title of the largest rookery of the rare turtles in the world.
Srikant Nayak, a member of Bhitarkanika eco-sensitive zone monitoring committee, said the Bhitarkanika forest region designated as a National Park, September 16, 1998 completed 23 years, Thursday.
Ahead of the anniversary, DFO Jagnyadatt Pati in a tweet informed about the release of a new logo on Bhitarkanika.
The logo carries the name of Bhitarkanika and Odisha and has pictures of mangrove forests, dolphins, deer, kingfishers, king cobra and estuarine crocodiles on it.
However, the Olive Ridley turtles for whom Bhitarkanika has earned worldwide fame is missing from the new logo. The logo also carries the pictures of tiger paws even though there are no big cats in the sanctuary.
However, the forest department keeping out the pictures of Olly has sparked surprise.
Local intelligentsia Ganesh Chandra Samal, Bhuban Mohan Jena, president of Jan Adhikar Manch, a social outfit, environmentalist Khitish Kumar Singh, social activist Radhakant Mohanty have expressed displeasure on the new logo.
They said the life cycle of rare Olive Ridley turtles is mysterious while its population is less in comparison to other amphibians. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has stressed conservation of Olive Ridleys.
The turtles travel lakhs of miles in sea to reach Gahirmatha to lay eggs. The Gahirmatha sanctuary has become a paradise for researchers and nature lovers.
They claimed that excluding Olive Ridley turtles from the logo of Bhitarkanika is a grave error. Efforts to contact DFO Jagnyadatt Pati evolved no response. RCCF Manoj Mohapatra said he is unaware of the idea behind the logo released by the forest department.