Berhampur (Odisha): The mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles, an endangered species, started near river Rushikulya mouth in Odisha's Ganjam district today.
On the first day, over 10,000 female turtles have laid eggs in the over 3-km-long sandy beach from Gokharakuda to Podampeta, forest officials said.
Excited over start of mass nesting, wildlife experts anticipated the unique phenomenon would continue for some more days.
"The condition of the beach as well as weather is very conducive. The mass nesting has started in time and we expect it to continue for next some days," said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Berhampur SS Mishra.
The mass nesting of the Olive Ridley was followed by the sporadic nesting in the rookery, considered as the second largest after Gahiramatha.
Besides the river Rushikulya mouth and Gahiramatha, the Devi river mouth in Odisha coast is also the famous mass nesting sites for the Olive Ridley.
"We have taken several measures to protect the eggs and for safety nesting in the beaches," said the DFO. The entire 4.5-km-long stretch of beach is divided into 33 sectors. The area was totally fenced to prevent the visitors.
Around 175 persons, including forest personnel, wildlife activists and nearby villagers were engaged for round the clock protection of the Olive ridley and the eggs. The protection would continue for next 50 days till the hatching takes place, DFO said.
While around 100-150 eggs are laid by each female turtle, the mother turtles, however, do not wait to see the baby turtles emerge hatching about 45 to 50 days of the nesting.
Several scholars and experts from different institutes across the country thronged the site to witness the unique phenomenon. "We have earmarked two out of 33 sectors in the beach for the visitors to witness the mass nesting scene," the DFO added.