Puri: A record number of turtle hatchlings were released into the sea at Konark and Astarang beaches in Puri, thanks to an increase in the survival rate and number of eggs laid, sources at the Forest department said.
As many as 542 baby turtles were released in the first phase from three breeding centres at Debi Nasi, Jahania and Kaluakani in Astarang Wildlife Range and from Kanarpur in Konark Wildlife Range.
The forest department had set up five temporary hatcheries for captive breeding of the turtles as part of its continuing efforts to protect the sea turtles.
As per reports from the Forest department, by March 25 this season, around 62, 978 eggs were collected from 650 turtle nestings in Debi island and 530 nestings at Konark and Astarang beaches.
The eggs were kept under regulated condition with 1 to 1.5 feet of sand cover and it took nearly 40 to 45 days for the eggs to hatch at these temporary breeding centres.
“We have recorded as many as 19,687 eggs this year. The baby turtles will be released in different phases into the sea under strict vigilance of the forest officials,” Rakhal Biswal, a forest guard of Astarang Wildlife Range said.
It is to be noted that after Gahirmatha and Rushiukulya river mouths, Konark and Astarang beaches in Puri are other most important sporadic nesting sites for Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha.