Odisha govt webcasts hatchlings of Olive Ridley turtles

Berhampur : One can witness the hatchlings of Olive Ridley turtles at one’s home without going to the site, courtesy the wildlife wing of State forest department which is webcasting the unique phenomenon from near Rushikulya river in Ganjam district, about 50-km from here.

Like mass nesting, wildlife organisation has decided to webcast the crawling of baby turtles towards the sea after emerging from sand pits at Rushikulya rookery to facilitate wildlife lovers view the phenomenon without going to the site, said Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur S S Mishra.

“The facility will help the forest officials to minimise the crowd in the rookery during hatchling period,” the DFO said.

Forces have been deployed in the rookery to control the crowd in the spot. The phenomenon is likely to continue for some more days, which started on Thursday, he said.

“Hatchlings were recorded during the period of emerging of baby turtles from the sand pits in the early morning. Then it was uploaded in the website for the webcast,” the DFO said.

Research scholars and professionals in Information Technology (IT) were engaged for the purpose, he added.

A record number of 3.09 lakh Olive Ridley turtles had laid eggs near Rushikulya river rookery spread around 4.45 km-long distance from Podampeta to Gokharakuda in the second week of March. Several eggs were destroyed and washed away due to the high-tidal wave in the sea.

Forest officials said they had taken adequate steps for protection of the baby turtles with deployment of forest staff. Local volunteers and fishermen were also helping the forest staff for protection of the baby turtles.

The baby turtles who were directionless, collected by forest staff and volunteers in buckets and released to the sea immediately, he said.

Forest department has requested the authorities to switch off the street lights since baby turtles might get attracted towards the light and fall prey to predators, officials said.