Cassian Baliarsingh

Hundreds of Olive Ridley sea turtles have begun emerging on the sea waters off Odisha’s Rushikulya marking the commencement of the annual mass nesting of the endangered marine species.

The much-awaited sporadic nesting of the endangered species has begun near Rushikulya rookery, around 50 km from Berhampur town in Ganjam district. 

Interestingly, the mass nesting was seen during the day after a gap of two years. The news was shared by IFS officer Susanta Nanda.

Taking to his Twitter handle, IFS Nanda shared a video and wrote, “Odisha welcomes its annual guests… The mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtle has begun at Rushikulya rookery… it’s happening at day time again, after a gap of two years. Swagatam.”

This comes as a good news for animal lovers and environmentalists who continue to urge the Odisha government to take proper steps to protect the habitat of the species.

“Olive Ridley Turtle have time and again chosen us, it’s our responsibility two repay the trust. Collectively need habitat protection,” commented a user.

Many social media users called for measures to protect the eggs and for safe nesting on the beach and to restrict visitors from going to the beach. This apart, environmentalists also called for the protection of the eggs from predators like dogs, jackals, boars and birds. 

On the other hand, prohibition of sea fishing is important for the undisturbed breeding of the threatened aquatic animals.

Worth mentioning, after climbing the sandy beach, 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 the babies grow without their mothers.

On the other hand, it is alleged that the dwindling numbers of Olive Ridleys in Odisha are yet to wake the government up from its deep slumber. 

While the Odisha government during the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 welcomed sports lovers with Olly as the mascot, the decline in the number of this threatened aquatic species is worrisome.

A month back, carcasses of Olive Ridleys were washed ashore Puri beach which left animal lovers and green crusaders disappointed.