Olive Ridley mass nesting begins

Berhampur:The much-awaited mass nesting of the Olive Ridley sea turtles, an endangered species, has started near the mouth of Rushikulya river, about 50 km from here in the wee hours today.

On the first day, over 8,000 female turtles have laid eggs in the three-km long sandy beach stretching from Gokharakuda to Podampeta in Odisha’s Ganjam district.

The condition of the beach as well as the weather is very conducive. The mass nesting has already stared early this morning. We expect the unique phenomena to continue for next few days, divisional forest officer (DFO), Berhampur, Asish Kumar Behera, said.

The mass nesting of the Olive Ridley was followed by sporadic nesting in the Rushikulya rookery, considered as the second largest after Gahiramatha.

We have taken several measures to protect the eggs.

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People are not allowed entry into the nesting site. The entire 4.5-km long stretch of the beach has been fenced to prevent outsiders from entering the area,” the DFO said.

Around 200 persons, including forest personnel, wildlife activists and nearby villagers were engaged 24 hours for protection of the turtles and their eggs, which would continue for 50 days, the DFO said.