Berhampur (Odisha): A large number of eggs of Olive Ridley turtles were destroyed due to sea erosion in the mouth of Rushikulya river in Odisha`s Ganjam district where the endangered sea species nest.
"We think around 10 to 20 per cent of eggs were washed away due to the sea erosion," divisional forest officer, Berhampur AK Jena said.
Around 1.06 lakh eggs were laid by Olive Ridley sea turtles in the Rushikulya river mouth, one of the nesting sites in the state in February.
Very few Olive Ridley turtles had nested in the place, where largescale sea erosion was taking place, DFO said.
Local activists, however, said around 50 per cent of the eggs washed away in the high tidal wave.
The sea erosion took place just ahead of their hatching. The hatching is likely to be taken place in the second week of this month, about 45 days of the nesting, experts said.
"As a large number of eggs destroyed due to the high tidal wave, this year very few hatchlings are likely to emerge from the eggs," said an expert.
Instead of their traditional site, the Olive Ridley turtles had nested in a new site, measuring about two-km near the river mouth. The new site is like an island and very vulnerable to sea erosion, DFO said.
He said the forest officials were waiting for the baby turtles, which are likely to emerge from the eggs from April 15 to 20. ?We will take steps to protect the baby turtles by deploying forest staff and volunteers in the area,? he said.
Besides Rushikulya river mouth, other famous nesting sites of the Olive Ridley sea turtles are Devi river mouth and Gahiramatha off Odisha coast.