6 lakh Olive Ridley turtles arrive at Gahirmatha to lay eggs

Kendrapara: With arrival of more than six lakh endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles here, the serene and idyllic Gahirmatha beach in Odisha s Kendrapara district has re-established itself as the world s largest known rookery of these marine animals.

The delicate marine species which have dug out neat pits on the sandy beach have so far laid over whopping seven crore eggs. However, space constraints on the nesting beach has led to the damage of eggs with the marine animals re-digging the pits where nests had been erected earlier, a forest official said.

Since the commencement of mass-nesting otherwise described as arribada (a Spanish term used for en masse laying eggs by turtle species) on February 22, the third highest ever congregation of marine species has taken place in the idyllic unmanned Island with 6,01,641 (Six lakh one thousand and six hundred forty one) turtles turning up for nesting, the official said.

The highest record of mass nesting was registered in 2001 with 7,41,000 turtles while the second best was 7,11,000 turtles in 2000. This year the spectacular natural phenomenon is still continuing since the past one week and is expected to last for at least three to four days, they said.

“It will be no surprise if the mass nesting record of past years is bettered this time,” said Subrat Patra, Forest Range Officer, Gahirmatha marine sanctuary. (More) PTI AAM CR