Ganjam: Locals here recently teamed up with the Forest Department to clean the four-km-long beach from Gokharakuda to Podampeta near the Rushikulya river, thereby paving the way for mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles.
They divided themselves into two groups. One group cleaned the Podampeta beach and the other, Gokharakuda beach. The team was headed by Rambha forester Somnath Malick.
To protect the Ridleys, forest officials have been regularly patrolling near the beach. Two trawlers, two speed boats and a country boat are being used for this purpose. In addition to this, barricades have also been set up and guards deployed near them for protecting the endangered turtles.
The mass nesting of the Olive Ridley turtles will begin from the last week of February, after the onset of south wind.
The mating period of the turtles starts in December and continues till January. After mating, the male turtles return to the sea while the females remain on the beach for mass nesting.
The Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district has emerged as the second largest rookery for the Olive Ridley turtles and the drive to clean up the beaches was aimed at ensuring smooth movement of turtles without any hurdles.