Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtle eggs at Rushikulya rookery in Odisha, a major nesting site of these endangered marine turtles, is expected to start soon.

Forest officials have completed preparations for the mass hatching to reduce turtle deaths. Local villagers and conservation organisations are also working to protect the turtle eggs buried in the sand for incubation.

Speaking to The Hindu, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Berhampur, S.S. Mishra said the urban body of Ganjam town, authorities of Jayashree Chemicals as well as villagers living near the rookery have been requested to switch off lights at night from April 2 till the end of the mass hatching.

The eggs hatch at night and are sensitive to light. As per their instinct, hatchlings move towards the sea after coming out of the sand. However, if they sense bright light on land they tend to head towards the source rather than moving towards the sea. In the area where mass nesting had occurred this year, nets are being fixed to prevent hatchlings straying towards the land. They would be rescued and released in the sea if caught in the nets.

This year, mass nesting on this part of the coast was lower compared to previous years.