Olive Ridley turtles nesting season begins

Though January to May is the nesting season for Olive Ridley turtles, a group of forest officials and turtle watchers collected the first batch of eggs last Saturday

Updated - December 23, 2020 02:14 am IST

Published - December 22, 2020 05:19 pm IST - NAGAPATTINAM

Forest personnel collecting eggs laid by Olive Ridley turtles on the seashore at Vanagiri in Nagapattinam district.

Forest personnel collecting eggs laid by Olive Ridley turtles on the seashore at Vanagiri in Nagapattinam district.

The nesting season of Olive Ridley turtles has begun and some of them have started laying eggs on the seashore off the Sirkazhi coast near Mayiladuthurai.

Though January and May is the nesting season for Olive Ridley turtles, a group of Forest officials and turtle watchers, who were on a routine early morning stroll, collected the first batch of eggs on the seashore in Sirkazhi range on Saturday last, about two weeks ahead of the usual nesting season. The eggs were found in a nest close to the sea.

S. Ramasubramanian, Conservator of Forest, Thanjavur, told The Hindu that the eggs were safely shifted to the Forest Department’s hatchery at Vanagiri in Sirkazhi range.

Following the sighting of eggs laid by Olive Ridley turtles, the Forest officials and anti poaching personnel have been asked to intensify their early morning checks along the seashore of Sirkazhi, Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam ranges to collect eggs and shift them to the hatcheries.

The seashore along Samathanpettai, Kameswaram, Vizhunthamavadi, Tharangambadi in Nagapattinam range, Madavamedu, Koozhaiyar and Vanagiri in Sirkazhi range and Kodiakarai (Point Calimere), Maniantheevu, Pushpavanam, Arkattuthurai and Vellapallam in Vedaranyam range have been identified as important nesting centres of Olive Ridley turtles.

“It is important to keep predators away so as to create a conducive environment for the nesting season. Officials have been instructed to create awareness among the people not to disturb the movement of turtles for nesting season” Mr. Ramasubramanian added.

He said that the first batch of 156 eggs had been kept in the hatchery at Vanagiri. As the hatching of eggs took 60 to 70 days, the hatchlings would be released into the sea in the last week of February.

The Conservator of Forest said that 23,906 eggs were collected in 2019-20 and 21,921 hatchlings were released into the sea. Since the season was conducive for nesting this year, it was expected that the total egg collection would reach 25,000 in 2020-21.

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