Turtles lay eggs in new place near Rushikulya river mouth

Berhampur: The Olive Ridley Turtles seemed to have changed their nesting site and laid eggs at a place from Podampeta to New Podampeta, near their traditional roockery in the Rushikulya river mouth.

Besides the mass nesting of the olive ridleys in the old rookery from Purunabandh to Gokharakuda, about four-km stretch, thousands of the endanger species also laid eggs in mass in and around 2-km stretch from Podampeta to New Podampeta area in Ganjam district, said the Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur Ashish Kumar Behera.

The mass nesting of the Olive ridley turtles ended in the river Rushikulya rookery recently and a record number of 3.72 lakh turtles laid eggs in the rookery.

Behera said earlier, the 4-km stretch near river mouth was known as the rookery for the Olive ridleys. Now the mass nesting site had been extended to 6-km, he said.

Forest officials said they faced difficult situations this time as there was no preparation like fencing the area and deployment of officials for the new place. They had made all arrangements for only 4-kilometer stretch.

“Now we have started to fence the new mass nesting area”, said the DFO.

“The government has sanctioned around Rs 4 lakh for procurement of materials, when we apprised about the new mass nesting site,” he said adding that the area would be totally fenced to prevent dogs, jackals, crows and other animals and birds as well as the visitors.

Around 45 volunteers along with several Forest department personnel have been deployed to protect the eggs in the new areas, he added.

Good condition of beach, favourable weather condition as well as availability of sufficient space in the beach to facilitate to dig pits and protection to them are some of the reasons to the record number of egg laying this year, the DFO attributed.

In 2015, over 3.09 lakh turtles had laid the eggs in the rookery, while in 2013, around 2.88 had laid eggs in the rookery, official sources.

“All previous records of mass nesting by the Olive ridleys have crossed this time”, said DFO adding that last year, the rookery had seen deserted look as the mass nesting of the turtles did not take place.

Climbing the sandy beach, the female turtle dig pit in the sand and lay eggs. The pits are covered with sand by the mother turtles before they disappear into the deep sea. Around 100 to 150 eggs are laid by each female turtle. The mother turtle, however, do not wait to see the baby turtles emerged hatchling about 45 to 50 days of the nesting.

}