Rain may affect hatching of Olive Ridley turtles

Berhampur: The ongoing mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles near the mouth of river Rushikulya off Ganjam coast in Orissa is likely to be affected due to heavy rains in the region.

The Ganjam block alone recorded 83 mm rainfall since Wednesday evening, the highest in the district.

The baby turtles could not emerge from water-soaked pits in the rookery and they have to wait for some more days for the sand to dry up.

Divisional forest officer (Berhampur) AK Jena said, "The baby turtles will not die in the rains, but they may face difficulty in emerging from the pits.

The baby turtles had started emerging from the pits in river Rushikulya mouth rookery from Friday last and the phenomenon continued till yesterday.

"We think almost all the eggs have been hatched and the baby turtles will emerge out from the eggs from the pits after the sunny weather," DFO said.

Around 2.54 lakh Olive Ridley female turtles had laid eggs from March 3 to 5 in the area of Gokharakuda to Kantiagada, one of the famous rookeries for this endangered species.

Besides the forest staff, local volunteers were engaged for the safety of the little turtles before they crawl to the sea.