Olive Ridley turtles begin mass nesting

Restrictions imposed on visitor entry along one stretch of beach in Ganjam district of Odisha

Updated - November 16, 2021 07:25 pm IST

Published - February 12, 2014 01:58 am IST - BERHAMPUR:

Turtles at the Rushikulya rookery in Ganjam district. File Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Turtles at the Rushikulya rookery in Ganjam district. File Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley turtles started at Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha from Monday night.

In comparison to past years, this season mass nesting has started almost one week early at this most preferred mass nesting site of Olive Ridleys on Indian coast, said Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), S.S.Mishra. On Monday night around 10,000 mother turtles reached the coast near Podampeta to lay their eggs. They reached the sandy beach in the darkness of night, dug out holes with their flippers, laid eggs in the holes in sand and covered them up, before returning back to sea. The eggs will incubate for around 45 days on their own due to heat of the sand. On Sunday night, around 200 Olive Ridleys had laid their eggs at this coast hinting at the start of mass nesting. At present thousands of female Olive Ridleys are waiting in sea to nest at very close distance to the coastline. Sporadic nesting of few mother turtles had started at Rushikulya rookery coast since January while the mating season of these turtles was continuing in sea.

Protection measures

Before the mass nesting season at a coast, a few mother turtles come to nest much earlier to assess the condition of the coast line, say the experts. Forest department has imposed restrictions on entry of visitors and tourists to over three kilometre stretch of beach.

This whole stretch has been divided into 45 segments by the forest department based on records of data regarding nesting. Tourists as well as local visitors are being allowed entry only in two segments so that human crowd does not affect the mass nesting process, said the DFO.

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