Over 2.4 Lakh Olive Turtles Arrive At Odisha’s Gahirmatha For Mass Nesting On A Day

Kendrapada: More than 2.4 lakh OLive Ridleys, an endangered sea turtle, have thronged Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in the district for mass nesting.

Even as Wildlife officials were apprehending that the Olive Ridleys might skip their annual sojourn this time due to the delay of over 15 days in their arrival, a record number of 2,45,188 sea turtles landed at Nasi-1 and Nasi-2  islands of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary within Bhitarkanika National Park on March 25.

“We are delighted that for the first time, on a single day more than 2 lakh turtles laid eggs at Gahirmatha. Last time, around 3,49,694 turtles laid eggs from  March 9 to March 23,” TNIE quoted divisional forest officer of Bhitarkanika National Park, JD Pati said.

The mass nesting would continue for a week as the eggs normally take 45 days to hatch. Then the tiny hatchlings would make their way to the sea, Pati said. Besides the two islands, which are considered ideal nesting strip, the turtles have also arrived at the Rushikulya and Devi river mouths for mass nesting, he added.

In order to protect turtles and their eggs from poachers and stray animals, about 30 forest officials including forest guards have been deployed to guard the beach.

The state government had imposed a ban on fishing activities inside the marine sanctuary from Nov 1 to May 31  to protect the turtles. Gahirmatha was declared a marine sanctuary covering 1435 sq km from Dhamra mouth to Hukitola island by the government in 1997.

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