Record 4 lakh olive ridley turtles nest in Rushikulya

Odisha is one of the world's most important nesting areas for olive ridley turtles. [Photo Credit: Odisha Sun times.]

Nesting to continue for a few days, other major nesting beaches left empty

Rochana Mohan

The Hindu, Feb 27: With 4,28,083 mother olive ridley turtles nesting till Monday morning, the endangered species has created an all-time record of mass nesting at the Rushikulya rookery coast in the Ganjam district of Odisha this year. The mass nesting is expected to continue for another two to three days, said Berhampur divisional forest officer Ashis Behera.

Interestingly, mass nesting of olive ridley turtles has not yet started on the coasts along the Gahirmatha beach and the mouth of the Debi river, two other major nesting sites in Odisha. Forest officials say the Gahirmatha beach is the largest mass nesting site for olive ridley turtles along the Indian coastline, followed by the rookery at the mouth of the Rushikulya river.

Twitter lased out against citizens carelessly taking pictures with the turtles.

Conducive environment

With 3,65,000 nests, olive ridley turtles had created a record of mass nesting at Rushikulya in 2017. They have already broken the record this year, indicating that the environment of this coast continues to be conducive for their mass nesting. In 2016, for some unexplained reason, there was no mass nesting at this coast.

This year, sea waves and winds have widened a portion of the beach near the Rushikulya rookery. A sandbar near the Podampeta village eroded entirely, and its sand was deposited on the coast, widening a stretch of the beach and increasing its height.

The reason for the dwindling number of Olive Ridley turtles [Source: The Wire].

The turtles have also extended their area of mass nesting northward till the Bateswar temple this year, said Mr. Behera.

Watch a video on the mass nesting in Rushikulya [Credits: justvish].