Around 7.30 lakh Olive Ridley turtles had turned up for mass nesting in the 2019-20 nesting season in Odisha with Gahirmatha beach playing host to 4.50 lakh turtles for mass nesting | File | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
The endangered Olive Ridley female turtles have started arriving at the Gahirmatha beach in Odisha's Kendrapara district, the world's largest known rookery of these species, to lay eggs, a phenomenon otherwise called 'arribada', officials said on Wednesday.
Arribada, a Spanish term that describes the unique natural heritage of millions of these marine species converging on the nesting ground for laying eggs.
The annual mass nesting of these delicate marine species began on Tuesday night in Nasi-2 beach of the Gahirmatha nesting ground. The number of female turtles that crawled onto the beach to dig pits by flippers and lay eggs was on a lesser scale. We are expecting a large turnout of turtles in the coming days for the arribada, said Debashis Bhoi, the forest range officer, Gahirmatha forest range.
The officials are yet to count the number of nests dug by the turtles so far. However, around 2,000 turtles had turned up to lay eggs. The mass nesting is likely to continue for at least 10 days. The intensity of the number of turtles turning up to lay eggs will pick up pace in the next three to four days, they said.
The ridleys return
Around 7.30 lakh Olive Ridley turtles had turned up for mass nesting in the 2019-20 nesting season in Odisha with Gahirmatha beach playing host to 4.50 lakh turtles for mass nesting. We are expecting this year's mass nesting figure to get better than last year's, the official said.
The forest department is now prioritising the safety of turtles' nests. To ensure the safety of turtle eggs, a 600 metre net barricade has been installed along the casiruanna forest cover that is close to nesting ground. Wildlife staff are on the round-the-clock vigil to keep the predators like jackals, hyena and wild dogs at bay, he said.
"The presence of forest personnel on the nesting ground did not bother the turtles as they maintained a distance from the animals. Emphasis is on to provide privacy to the marine animals during the egg-laying process. On their seaward journey, they moved past the forest guards at hand- shaking distance", said the officials who witnessed mass nesting.
It's only the female turtles that invade the nesting beaches usually at the dead of the night for laying eggs. After indulgence in instinctive egg-laying, the turtles leave the nesting ground to stride into the deep sea water.
Odisha requests WII to conduct fresh study on Olive Ridley turtle movement
Hatchlings emerge from these eggs after 45-60 days. It is a rare natural phenomenon where the babies grow without their mother, said officials.
The Olive ridley turtles turn up in millions for mass nesting along the Odisha coast every year. Gahirmatha beach off the Bay of Bengal coast in Kendrapara district is incidentally acclaimed as World's largest-known nesting ground of these animals.
Apart from Gahirmatha, these threatened aquatic animals turn up at Rushikulya river mouth and Devi river mouth for mass nesting. An Olive Ridley turtle usually lays about 120 to 150 eggs. But not all eggs remain intact as predators devour them. Besides, eggs are also washed away by sea waves during high tide.
(Subscribe to Science For All, our weekly newsletter, where we aim to take the jargon out of science and put the fun in. Click here.)
You have reached your limit for free articles this month.
Already have an account ? Sign in
Start your 14 days free trial. Sign Up
Find mobile-friendly version of articles from the day's newspaper in one easy-to-read list.
Enjoy reading as many articles as you wish without any limitations.
A select list of articles that match your interests and tastes.
Move smoothly between articles as our pages load instantly.
A one-stop-shop for seeing the latest updates, and managing your preferences.
We brief you on the latest and most important developments, three times a day.
*Our Digital Subscription plans do not currently include the e-paper, crossword and print.
We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.
Your support for our journalism is invaluable. It’s a support for truth and fairness in journalism. It has helped us keep apace with events and happenings.
The Hindu has always stood for journalism that is in the public interest. At this difficult time, it becomes even more important that we have access to information that has a bearing on our health and well-being, our lives, and livelihoods. As a subscriber, you are not only a beneficiary of our work but also its enabler.
We also reiterate here the promise that our team of reporters, copy editors, fact-checkers, designers, and photographers will deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.
Please enter a valid email address.
Subscribe to The Hindu now and get unlimited access.
Already have an account? Sign In
Start your 14 days free trial Sign Up
You can support quality journalism by turning off ad blocker or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to The Hindu.