Turtles begin mass nesting in Orissa

Thousands of endangered Olive Ridley turtles have begun mass nesting on the coast of eastern Orissa state, home to the world’s largest nesting site for the turtles, officials said on Wednesday.

Over 20,000 turtles came ashore for mass-nesting early on Wednesday, within a two-kilometre stretch from the mouth of the Rushikulya river in Ganjam district, a local forest department official said.

The Rushikulya river mouth is around 175 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

For more than a decade, the beach at the Rushikulya river mouth has been witnessing mass arrival of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles. But the turtles did not land here last year, the official said.

The turtles, which this year have already congregated in the sea near the nesting site, came ashore in groups, with around 5,000 to 10,000 turtles in each group.

There are three mass nesting sites of turtles in Orissa: Nasi Islands in Gahirmatha, Devi river mouth and Rushikulya river mouth.

However, no mass nesting has been reported from the other two beaches so far, although turtles are seen swimming near the coast, a wildlife official said.

The Rushikulya river mouth is the only place along the coast where turtles are safe from marauding trawlers, said Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the NGO Wildlife Society of Orissa.

Source: The Times of India