Berhampur: Arrival of Olive Ridley sea turtles at Rushikulya river mouth in Odisha's Ganjam district has marked the start of the annual breeding season of the endangered animal.
"We have already seen several pairs of Olive Ridley turtles near Rushikulya river mouth, about 20 km off the coast, since Thursday," said Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer S S Mishra.
Their arrival for the annual mating was, however, delayed by a few days this year, probably due to the late arrival of the winter, he said.
Rushikulya river mouth is said to be the second-largest rookery in the world for the Ridleys after the famous Gahiramatha beach in Kendrapara district of the state.
Devi river mouth is also another rookery, where thousands of such turtles come for nesting.
"We have made elaborate arrangements for their protection and safe mating," said the DFO.
While fishing has been banned in the area, the forest and fishery departments have intensified patrolling to crackdown on illegal fishing and entry of trawlers.
Gopalpur Port Limited has provided a speed boat this time for patrolling, the DFO said.
He said at least nine camps had been set up to monitor the movement of the Olive Ridleys at the Rushikulya river mouth.