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Odisha sets a new record as 6.37 lakh Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs on coast

Rushikulya rookery located in Odisha's Ganjam district witnessed a record number of turtles coming for laying eggs (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@SoumyaMarineWL)

For wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists in India especially Odisha this year has turned out to be special as the Rushikulya rookery located in Ganjam district has broken past records of Olive Ridley mass nesting.

This year more than 6.37 lakh turtles laid eggs on the beach.

The mass nesting of these reptiles started from February 23 and went on for eight days and it took place on a five kilometre stretch of beach from Podampeta village to Bateshwar temple.

As per Sunny Khokkar, Divisional Forest Officer of Berhampur, during this period at least 6,37,008 turtles laid eggs. This is 86,000 more than last year’s eggs when 5,50,317 turtles had laid eggs during the mass nesting which had begun in the third week of March 2022.

Khokkar informed that as the mass nesting had taken place before the scheduled time, it was expected that the eggs would hatch early and there will be more hatchlings. Keeping this in mind adequate precautions have been taken, like providing enough manpower including locals to keep a watch on the eggs and predators like wild dogs, boars, birds and jackals, to ensure safe hatching of the eggs.

Among the measures taken to protect the eggs during the incubation period in the ditches, the forest officials have erected fencing and put up barricades with plastic nets. Further, the area has been divided into 50 segments with each of these allocated to a team which includes forest officials, volunteers and local villagers.

A control room has been established to coordinate the whole exercise.

The Zoological Survey of India meanwhile has tagged around 3,200 turtles with metal flipper tags this year. This has been done with the aim of studying the migration route of these turtles.