Kendrapara: The unique natural phenomenon— hatching of baby turtles sans their mothers— has begun at the idyllic beach of Kalam Island off Odisha coast in Kendrapara district, forest officials said.
Like every year, the phenomenon has left the wildlife lovers awestruck and elated, they said.
In the past 72 hours, millions of turtle hatchlings, have emerged from the eggs, which were buried in the sand, and crawled towards the sea, the divisional forest officer (DFO) of Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Prasanna Kumar Acharya, said.
The emergence of baby turtles mark the grand culmination of the annual sojourn of Olive Ridley sea turtles in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, known as the world’s largest nesting ground for these endangered species, he added.
Kalam Island is a part of Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
More turtle hatchlings would emerge from the eggs in the next seven to 10 days, Acharya said.
The beach will be swarming with turtle hatchlings in the coming days, the DFO said.
Around 4.50 lakh turtles had congregated at the beach for nesting in March.
“The entire beach is teeming with baby turtles and the wildlife officials of Bhitarkanika National Park, stationed at the nesting ground, were the only ones to witness the phenomenon,” he said.
Tourists and researchers were denied entry to savour the unique experience since the unmanned island is located close to the defence test range centre, a prohibited territory.
The babies after emerging from the sand pits wandered aimlessly around the beach for nearly an hour and then gradually crawled towards the sea, a wildlife staff said.
The eggs usually hatch after an incubation period of 45 to 55 days.
“Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, free from human interference, also happens to be the most congenial and conducive spot for mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley turtles,” Acharya added.