Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Around 1.5 lakh Olive Ridley turtles laid eggs on the first day of their mass nesting which started near the mouth of Rushikulya river,  around 50 km from Berhampur town in Ganjam district.

As per the forest officials, the mass nesting of the sea turtles has started in the four km stretch of the beach at Posampeta under Palibandha Gram Panchayat for the last couple of days. Thousands of Olive Ridley turtles have emerged from the sea marking the commencement of the annual mass nesting of the endangered marine species. Interestingly, the mass nesting, which will continue for some more days, was seen after a gap of two years.

Elaborate security arrangement has been made at the beach to protect the eggs. The entire beach has been divided into 50 sectors and over 150 forest staff and volunteers have been engaged to protect the eggs. The entire site has been fenced to prevent the entry of wild dogs, jackals and other predators. The entire beach has been kept under CCTV surveillance.

Notably, a female turtle digs a pit in the sand first and lays eggs. Each female turtle lays around 100 to 150 eggs. They then cover the pit before going back into the sea.

Interestingly, the mother turtles do not wait to see the hatchlings emerge about 40 to 50 days after nesting. It is a rare natural phenomenon where babies grow without their mothers.