Kendrapara, Feb 5 (LocalWire) Sporadic nesting of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles has already started at the Gahiramatha beach,,the world’s largest nesting sites of sea turtles, in Kendrapara district.
About 120 turtles laid eggs within three days at Nasi 1 and Nasi 2 islands within Gahiramatha marine sanctuary, said Sriramapada Arabinda Mishra, the forest range officer of the marine sanctuary.
More turtles will arrive for laying eggs and the forest officials are now on high alert to protect the turtles and their eggs on the beach.
To protect the eggs from predators like dogs, jackals, wild boars and birds, the forest department have established hatcheries at Aagarnasi, Pentha, Madali and Babubali beaches.
Forest guards are collecting eggs from the pits and putting them in the hatcheries. All the hatcheries are covered with plastic nets to prevent entry of any predator, said Mishra.
A record number of 6,64,549 turtles laid eggs from Mar 8 to 12 last year year on the Nasi 1 and Nasi 2 islands of the marine sanctuary.
“We established 15 turtle protection camps, including three offshore camps at Agaranashi, Barunei and Babubali islands, to protect turtles in the marine sanctuary,” said the forest officer.
Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) officials recently put off the bright lights at the integrated missile testing center at Abdul Kalam Island for safe arrival of turtles at Gahiramatha.
Meanwhile, the forest officials have seized 88 fishing vessels and arrested 575 fishermen on charges of illegally fishing in the sanctuary.
To protect the endangered marine species, the state government banned all types of fishing within 20 km of the Gahiramatha marine sanctuary from Nov 1 to May 31, said Mishra.