Berhampur: Nov 26 (LocalWire) The Forest department on Monday said they have launched a drive to clean debris from the beach at Rushikulya river mouth, off Ganjam coast, about 45-km from here.
The place is famous for mass nesting of the endangered olive ridleys.
Huge quantities of debris were deposited in the rookery for the turtles, following floods post Cyclone Titli, which hit the district on October 11.
Wildlife activists had expressed apprehensions that olive ridleys might face difficulty in climbing up the beach in presence of debris.
“We have pressed three vehicles to clean the debris at present. Later, labourers will be engaged to clean the beach to facilitate the mass nesting of turtles,” said divisional forest officer (DFO) Berhampur Ashish Kumar Behera.
He said the cyclone has formed a sandbar-like stretch from Purunabandh to Gokharakuda.
“We feel the turtles might want to climb up the sandbar for mass nesting. So we are cleaning the sandbar as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the olive ridley turtles have started visiting the sea near the beach off Ganjam coast. Mating of the endangered turtles, however, is yet start, said a forest officer.
“We have taken all precautionary measures for their safety, protection and smooth mass nesting at the rookery,” said the DFO.
The government will impose a seven-month ban on fishing around 170 km coastal area in the state, including the coastal area in the district from November 1 to May 31 to protect the olive ridleys.
Any fishing in the No Fishing zone, 20 km away from the coast, through mechanized trawlers will also be banned in the area during the period, sources said.
Rushikulya river mouth beach is considered as the second major rookery for olive ridleys after Gahiramatha. Mass nesting of the turtles are witnessed here twice this year.
In February, 4.45 lakh olive ridleys laid eggs at the beach, while around 37,000 turtles laid eggs at the rookery in April, sources said.