Over 4 crore endangered Olive Ridley hatchlings make their way into the sea in ...

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Home / India News / Over 4 crore endangered Olive Ridley hatchlings make their way into the sea in Odisha

More than 4 crore Olive Ridley hatchlings have crawled their way to the sea over the past month after emerging from eggs at the Gahirmatha and Rushikulya rookeries in Odisha, signalling the end of the annual sojourn of the endangered species.

State wildlife and forest department officials said more than 2 crore turtles emerged out of the eggs and crawled from the Nasi-2 island of Gahirmatha rookery and Rushikulya rookery between the second and third week of May.

“If we take into account beach erosion and factors like rain, this year over 70 per cent of the eggs laid by the turtles hatched and baby turtles made their way into the Bay of Bengal. As there was barely any disturbance, the number of hatchlings this year was considerably higher,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Rajnagar Mangrove Forest Division, Bikash Ranjan Dash said.

Similarly, in Gokharakuda beach of Rushikulya delta in Ganjam district, more than 2 crore baby turtles came out of the eggs and crawled into the Bay of Bengal. Divisional forest officer of Berhampur, Amlan Nayak said inclement weather did not have much impact on the hatching of the eggs.

This year, around 4.70 lakh female turtles had turned up to lay eggs between the second and fourth week of March at the idyllic Nasi-2 island of Gahirmatha beach — regarded as the world’s largest nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles-- while 3.23 lakh had nested at the Rushikulya rookery.

Incidentally, the turtles had skipped Rushikulya last year, an event that had baffled turtle researchers. Both the beaches in Odisha are ideal for mass nesting due to their offshore and onshore properties.

Each female turtle lays around 100 to 120 eggs. The eggs hatch in 45 to 60 days, depending on the temperature of the sand and atmosphere during the incubation period.

“While rains play a role, in Gahirmatha this time we did not have any such problems,” the DFO, Rajnagar said. To protect the eggs from predators and humans, the wildlife department in Rushikulya, had put up metal net fencing over a 5 km stretch.

Apart from Rushikulya and Gahirmatha in Odisha, there are only four mass nesting sites in the world for Olive Ridleys - Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and Suriname.

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