Sporadic hatching of olive ridley eggs has started at the mass nesting site at Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha.
According to forest officials, hatching of eggs occurred at around 100 olive ridley nests during Monday and Sunday night. On an average around 80 to 100 hatchlings came out of these nests. Hatching also begun at four artificial hatcheries in the region. Eggs from areas beyond the mass nesting site were collected and incubated at these hatcheries.
This year 4,45,091 mother olive ridleys laid their eggs during this seven-day-long mass nesting that ended on February 27 night. It was expected that mass hatching of eggs will start on the night of April 7 or 8. But it was delayed due to summer drizzles during the past few days which lengthened the incubation period from the usual 45 days. Buried under the sand, the eggs use ambient heat of the beach for incubation. Rainfall reduced the temperature of the eggs in the nests, explained Bivash Pandav, a scientist of Wildlife Institute of India.
As mass hatching is again expected to start in the next few days, the forest department has begun the process to document the phenomenon by opening a centre at Gokhakuda, said Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer Ashis Behera. CCTVs have been installed to check human intervention during the hatching process.
This year, no tourist or outsider would be allowed to step into the six to seven kilometre long mass nesting coast. Three special barricaded zones have been constructed for visitors at Bateswar, Podampeta and Gokhakuda.Visitors can watch the mass hatching process from a distance. Use of mobile phones by visitors has also been banned.