Kendrapara, March 5 (LocalWire): Untimely rain and bad weather have delayed the mass-nesting of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles at Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary known as the world’s largest rookery of the sea turtles within Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district.
Last year, 4.70 Lakh turtles laid eggs from 26th February to 7th March. But this year arribada is yet to be started due to untimely rain.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted on Wednesday heavy rainfall for four days. Turtles need day beach to lay eggs.
The Forest department has made all the arrangements for the arribada of the marine species.
“We are disappointed as the mas-nesting of the turtles has been delayed this year due to inclement weather” said Bikash Ranjan Dash the Divisional Forest Officer of the park.
But we hope turtles will come in large numbers to lay eggs soon, as thousands of turtles have already congregated in the sea water of gahiramatha after the end of their mating, he said.
”The beach was also recently cleaned by us for the arrival of turtles,” he added.
“Constant erosion of the nesting site, illegal fishing, illumination of the missile test range and regular testing of missiles at the missile test center at Abdul Kalam island near the Nasi1 and Nasi 2 islands are the main factors for the delay of the mass-nesting of the turtles,” said Hemanta Rout an environmentalist and the Secretary of Gahiramatha Marine Turtle and Mangrove Conservation Society (GMRMCS) , Kendrapada.
“In 1997, the government declared the Gahiramatha marine sanctuary to protect the vulnerable marine turtles.
We established 15 turtle protection camps including three offshore camps at Agaranashi, Barunei and Babubali islands to protect turtles in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.
The policemen of marine police stations at Kharinashi and Paradip and coast guards help the forest officials to prevent the illegal fishing”, added the forest officer.