50,000 endangered turtles nest in Odisha’s Rushikulya beach

March 1st, 2012 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, March 1 (IANS) The much-awaited mass nesting of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles have commenced in Odisha, with at least 50,000 of them laying their eggs at the Rushikulya beach, an official said Thursday.

The turtles crawled ashore from the Bay of Bengal Wednesday, in the district of Ganjam, about 180 kms from state capital Bhubaneswar.

At least 50,000 turtles have so far landed along a 2.2 km beach, Divisional Forest Officer A.K. Jena told IANS, adding that about 50 officials and volunteers have been deployed at the site for counting the turtles.

Wildlife expert Biswajit Mohanty said he apprehends that the eggs might get lost as the beach faces the threat of erosion.

The state has two other turtles’ nesting sites - Gahirmatha beach in the Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary in Kendrapada district and the Devi river mouth in Puri district.

Over half a million turtles arrive and congregate in the shallow coastal waters of the Bay of Bengal from October to November and nest from December to March. Most hatchlings emerge by May.

“There was sporadic nesting by about 150 turtles during the past three months at Gahirmatha. The mass nesting has however not yet started in this beach,” Bhitarkainka Divisional Forest Officer Manoj Mohapatra told IANS.

The Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary is one of the world’s largest turtle nesting sites, where most turtles nest every year.

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