Kendrapara (Odisha): With Olive Ridley sea turtles yet to arrive at Gahirmatha rookery in Odisha`s Kendrapara district for mass nesting, wildlife personnel are in a spot of bother.
As the mass nesting has got considerably delayed, apprehension of marine animals skipping their annual sojourn at the tranquil beach looms large.
The turtles might skip their annual visits for mass nesting to Gahirmatha coast. Rapid erosion of beach might be distracting the delicate creatures from appearing at the beach. Apart from this, trawl fishing and human interference might have affected their privacy, say wildlife experts.
These pertinent points have come under focus even as there are no signs of arribada, a Spanish term that describes the unique natural heritage of millions of these marine species converging on the nesting ground for laying eggs.
"We are still hopeful of occurrence of mass nesting. There are instances in the past years when these animals arrived to lay eggs en-masse during March," Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division official, Kedar Kumar Swain said.
Each year Olive Ridley turtles in million of numbers turn up to lay eggs during January-February in World`s largest-known rookery of the species along Gahirmatha beach.
Delay in the mass nesting might have been due to extended winter this year. Cold weather along with strong wind prevails at nesting sites. Once cold and windy weather conditions recede, turtles may emerge from seawater for mass-nesting, Swain said.
Besides extended winter, sea erosion that has led to rapid topographical changes in the 12km long Gahirmatha beach might be distracting the turtles. Fragmented beaches with its area reduced considerably over the years might be proving less congenial for en-masse emergence of turtles for arribada.