Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Following mass nesting, hatching of millions of Olive Ridley turtles have started at the Gahirmatha beach in Kendrapara district.

The island of Gahirmatha is witnessing the unique natural phenomenon in which baby turtles take birth without their mothers. A total of 2,03,94,000 baby turtles have broken out of eggshells to mingle in the Gahirmatha seawaters in the last three days, marking the grand culmination of the annual sojourn of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Patrolling and security majors have been intensified in the sea beach to protect the bay turtles from dogs, jackals, crows and kites.

As per Forest Department officials, highest number of baby turtles are expected to crawl into the sea this year as the weather is favourable.

Notably, the annual phenomenon of mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles on the tranquil beaches of Gahirmatha sanctuary, known as the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles, started in March this year.

The Odisha government has announced the rookery at Gahirmatha, covering 1,435 square kilometres from the Dhamra mouth to Hukitola island, a sanctuary in 1997 to protect the endangered turtles. 

The Olive Ridley sea turtles are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 as a Scheduled 1(vulnerable / endangered species) animal.