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Olive Ridley Arribada: Annual guests arriving in good numbers

Podampetta: The mass nesting or ‘Arribada’ of Olive Ridley turtles has commenced in the Rushikulya beach in the Ganjam district of Odisha. In 2022, mass nesting started on March 27, and over 5 lakh turtles were nested between March 27 and April 4.

It started on 23 February and by the morning 6 am of 26 February over 4,61,357 turtles have laid their eggs. On the first day over 1.5 lakh turtles laid their eggs. Daytime nesting was also witnessed on the first and second days of nesting. The last time this happened was in 2020.

“This year the nesting happened at right time. Olive Ridley conduct survey, when they find a rise in soil temperature and southerly wind, they start nesting,” said Amlan Nayak, divisional forest officer (DFO), Berhampur forest division.

This year sporadic nesting was not observed rather mass nesting happened suddenly.

“We are happy as we have not observed such nesting in the starting. Last year total nesting was 5 lakh and this year we are expecting it to be more than that,” he shared.

The nesting is likely to continue another week, he informed.

The forest officials have made all the arrangements for this year’s nesting on the beach. “Beach patrolling is being done, and 11 camps have been established with three forest personals each. They have been laced with adequate protective equipment,” he said.

The beach in Rushikulya has divided into 50 segments where each segment consisting of 100 meters where census is being carried out. In the portion where mass nesting is happening there, each segment has three staff.

This year the forest department has taken some extra initiatives. “We conducted a meeting to aware people of avoiding the use of ring nets for fishing. The result is now fishermen have stopped using ring fishing nets,” shared Nayak.

Rabindranath Sahu, secretary of Rushikulya Marine Turtle Protection Committee, said “This year nesting happened early we are expecting good nesting in coming days.”

“Last year the beach in Rushikulya was eroded which affected nesting, however, this year again a beautiful beach has been formed which is suitable for nesting,” informed Sahu.

The beach was cleaned and the forest department barricaded the beach in advance to protect the eggs, he added.

The Gahirmatha in Kendrapada is yet to witness the nesting of Olive Ridley. In 2022 recorded a good number of mass nesting.

Divisional Forest Officer, J D PatiJD Pati said, “The nesting is yet to start in Gahirmatha. Since it has started in Rushikulya, we are expecting by next week it will also start here.”

“We have already cleaned the beach. We have a permanent camp there where over 25 forest department officials stay. Fencing has been erected on the beach. We have also conducted an awareness camp,” he informed.

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