Much awaited mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles start

Berhampur: The much awaited mass hatching of Olive Ridly turtles has started and the baby turtles are emerging from sandy pits and then crawling sea-ward near the mouth of river Rushikulya off Ganjam coast.

The much awaited mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles started yesterday.

The mass hatching was delayed for about five to six days due to unseasonal rains in the area recently, said Divisional Forest Officer of Berhampur, A K Behera.

Baby turtles generally emerge about 45 or 50 days after nesting. The delay, however, has not affected the turtles, he added.

Mass hatching is likely to continue for another four to five days and forest personnel are trying their best to ensure the safety of the baby turtles, Behera said.

A record number of over 3.70 lakh Olive ridley turtles had laid eggs near the river Rushikulya river mouth in a mass nesting that took place from February 14 to 22 this year.

Besides the mass nesting of the Olive Ridleys is the old rookery that stretches from Purunabandh to Gokkharkuda, a stretch of about 4 kilometres, thousands of other endangered species also laid eggs en mass in the two kilometre stretch from Podampeta to New Podampeta area, this time. After laying eggs, the female turtles return to the sea. Baby Olive Ridleys grow without their mothers, in a rare natural phenomena.

“We have fenced the entire area to prevent to entry of predators like wild dogs, jackals, hyenas and other animals,” Behera said.