Ganjam: Hundreds of endangered Olive Ridley turtles flocked to the Rushikulya river mouth for their annual mass nesting in Ganjam district.
The mass nesting of turtles started from last week of February. In the first phase, a total of 45 turtles nested on the Rushikulya river. A total of 54 turtles nested their eggs Tuesday while Wednesday saw nesting of 56 turtles. According to sources, till March 18, a total of 278 turtles had laid eggs while the total number of false nesting or crawling is 387.
Odisha is the largest mass nesting site for Olive Ridleys in the world. The sanctuary is considered the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles. Khallikot forest ranger Dillip Kumar said the forest department has set up 14 teams to protect eggs from attacks by crows, dogs, jackals and other animals. The turtle eggs normally take 45 days to hatch. After this, tiny hatchlings make their way to the sea.
When asked, divisional forest officer Amlan Nayak said, a turtle gives approximately 100 eggs at a time. “The number of turtles may increase for mass nesting with the start of the south wind,” Nayak added.