COLOMBO — Up to 100 turtles and 20 dolphins have washed up dead on Sri Lanka’s beaches in the past month, as experts fear a link to the leak of toxic chemicals from a sunken freight ship. “So far, around 176 dead turtles have got washed onto different beaches around Sri Lanka,” said Thushan Kapurusinghe, coordinator of the Turtle Conservation Project of Sri Lanka (TCP). Marine turtles washing up dead on the Indian Ocean island are common around this time of year, which is when the peak of the monsoon turns the seas rough and leads to the turtles being fatally injured. But this June, the waves have brought in an “abnormally high” number of turtle and even dolphin carcasses, Kapurusinghe told Mongabay. The carcass of an olive ridley turtle. Image courtesy of Lalith Ekanayake. Unusual increase Five of the world’s seven marine turtle species nest along Sri Lanka’s southern and southeastern beaches. The April-May period marks the height of the nesting season, according to Lalith Ekanayake, chairman of the  Bio Conservation Society. But this period has also been marked by what environmental activists and experts warn is the biggest maritime disaster unfolding in Sri Lanka’s history. In late May, the Singapore-flagged cargo ship MV X-Press Pearl caught fire off Colombo, on Sri Lanka’s western coast, and sank in early June. It was carrying a cargo of nitric acid and plastic pellets, among other items, and was loaded with 378 metric tons of bunker fuel. Modeling by researchers has shown…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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