Rajnagar (Kendrapara): Much to the delight of the nature lovers, the mass nesting of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles along Gahirmatha coast this year in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has shattered 18-year-old record.
Sources in the Forest department said the mass nesting of the Ridley turtles this year is the highest after 2000-2001 and the third highest in the history of Gahirmatha.
After the 1999 Super Cyclone, about 7,11,500 Ridley turtles had congregated at Gahirmatha in 1999-2000 for mass nesting. The number of these turtles had gone up to 7,40,000 in 2000-2001.
However, the number of the Ridley turtles at Gahirmatha came down drastically after 2001 and continued till 2017.
While the environmentalists were concerned over the drastic fall in the number of these endangered turtles, they are elated as these turtles this year have congregated along the coast in large numbers beyond their expectations.
Forest officials of Rajnagar Wildlife Range said till date a total of 6,62,320 Ridley turtles have congregated at Gahirmatha for mass nesting.
While mass nesting of 200 Ridley turtles were sighted on March 5, their number went up to 5640 on March 6, 1,28,000 on March 7, 2,16,000 on March 8, 2,23,000 on March 9, 82,200 on March 10 and 7,280 on March 11.
Going by the total number of 6,62,320 Ridley turtles this year, the Forest officials have said this is the third highest congregation of these rare marine species in the history of mass nesting along Gahirmatha coast.