Berhampur, March 17 (LocalWire): The endangered Olive Ridley turtles seem to have given the mass nesting site near the mouth of river Rushikulya a miss this year, as the phenomenon has been delayed by more than a month than last year.
In 2018, a record number of 4, 82,128 turtles had laid eggs in the area twice. While the first mass nesting took place from 20 to 27 February, the second mass nesting was witnessed from 17 to 21 April.
This year, the endangered species could not climb the sandy beach in large numbers for mass nesting so far although sporadic nesting took place in the rookery. Around 800 turtles had laid eggs in the beach from 2 February to the second week of March.
‘The time for arribadas (Spanish word meaning arrival) is almost over,’ said Sudhakar Mohapatra, a retired senior forest officer. He said the southern wind, which helps the female turtles to climb the beach was not moving this year and the present weather condition was also not conducive for mass nesting.
Forest officials, however, did not give up hope. ‘Since the turtles have been seen in large numbers in the sea, near the mouth of the river, we are hopeful that if the climatic conditions are favourable , the arribada might take place a little late this year,’ said divisional forest officer, Berhampur AK Behera. He said there have been occurrences of late nesting in the past.
He said the beach was in good condition to facilitate the Olive Ridleys for mass nesting. ‘Forest personnel, expecting early mass nesting, cleaned the beach of debris that had accumulated after floods in October’ the DFO said.
Previous years’ data shows that in the years 2006, 2008 and 2010, late mass nesting took place in March and April in the Rushikuya rookery. Around four-km beach strip from Gokharakuda to Kantiagada is known as the second largest rookery for the Olive Ridley in the world after the Gahiramatha Beach.