Mass nesting of Olive Ridley to be webcast

Berhampur: With the forest department webcasting the mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles on the sandy shores near Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district, people can now watch the unique phenomenon without visiting the site.

Chief wildlife warden S S Srivastav said the webcasting will help forest officials minimise the crowd that gathers at the site during the nesting period.

The wildlife wing of forest department is webcasting the phenomenon, which started on Thursday, for which one needs to log on to to watch it.

“We decided to webcast the mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles at Rushikulya rookery to allow wildlife lovers to witness the unique phenomenon without having to visit the site,” Srivastav said.

“The mass nesting of the turtles was recorded when the Olive Ridleys laid eggs, usually in the early morning. Then it was uploaded on the website for the webcast,” divisional forest officer, Berhampur, S S Mishra, said.

At least two IT professionals and a wildlife scientist were engaged for the purpose, he added.

“Live webcast was not done from the rookery as it might have caused disturbance and posed a hurdle to the turtles because of the light,” said another officer.

Earlier, the DFO Berhampur had submitted a proposal to the government for live telecast of the mass nesting of the turtles from the site. But the Rs 40-lakh project was yet to be implemented.

Mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles, an endangered species, continued and on Friday, more than 59,000 turtles laid eggs.

10,000 turtles had laid eggs on the first day at river Rushikulya rookery.

Wildlife experts expect the mass nesting to continue for a few more days as the beach and weather conditions are conducive to the natural phenomenon.

Forest officials have taken several measures to protect the eggs and the turtles. The entire 4.5-km long stretch of beach has been divided into 33 sectors. The area has been totally fenced to prevent visitors from disturbing the turtles.

Around 175 persons, including forest personnel, wildlife activists and people from nearby villages were engaged for round-the-clock vigil to protect the turtles and the eggs.

The vigil will continue over next 50 days till hatching takes place, the DFO said.