Wildlife lovers dismayed over destruction of turtle eggs

Kendrapara: With a record six lakh Olive Ridley turtles converging on the sandy beach of Gahirmatha this year for the annual mass nesting, several million turtle eggs have been destroyed ironically by the turtles themselves due to space crunch leaving wildlife enthusiasts dismayed.

Since start of mass-nesting, 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 unmanned Island with 6,04,641 turtles turning up for nesting till Thursday night, a wildlife official said today.

The marine species have so far laid over seven crore eggs. However, over three crore eggs have been damaged as per a conservative estimate, the official said.

Also Read: Record 6,04,046 Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs in Gahirmatha…
Though there was ample space in the one-km stretch beach for turtles to lay eggs, they chose specific spots for arribada. As a result, space constraints hit the nesting beach. It has led to damage of eggs, Gahirmatha Forest Range Officer Subrat Patra said.

“Though large congregation of turtles this year has made us jubilant, it upsets us to find destruction of eggs on a large scale on the nesting beach. It s not predators like jackals or hyenas who are the destroyers. It s the turtles who have extensively damaged the eggs incidentally laid by them”, Gahirmatha Forest Range Officer, Patra said.

Millions of eggs were smashed by nesting turtles who loitered around to find a congenial spot to dig pit and lay eggs. The turtles, little knowing the existence of nests, were sighted digging up the spot dismantling the already existing nests and eggs. It s not possible to stop the destruction of eggs, the officer said.