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Visitor Entry Restricted at Olive Ridley Turtle Nesting Sites in Odisha to Ensure Conservation

Bhubaneswar: To protect the nesting and hatching process of Olive Ridley sea turtles, the Odisha Government has imposed restrictions on visitor entry to the mass nesting sites. The prohibition will be in effect during the period of nesting until the completion of the emergence of hatchlings.

The decision comes in response to concerns about the disturbance caused by visitors to the nesting sites. It has been observed that individuals visiting the mass nesting locations to witness the nesting and hatching phenomena use bright lights for observation, photography, and videography. Additionally, instances of inappropriate behavior by visitors have been reported. These activities, combined with overcrowding at the nesting sites, pose a significant threat to the normal nesting and hatching processes of the Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The Olive Ridley turtle is a protected species listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The activities carried out by visitors, such as the use of bright lights, fall under the definition of ‘hunting’ as per the provisions of Section 2(16) and are prohibited under Section 9 of the Act.

In light of these concerns, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Odisha, issued an order stating that all mass nesting sites of Olive Ridley sea turtles will be closed to visitors immediately. This restriction will remain in place during the nesting period until the hatchlings have completed their emergence.

The move aims to safeguard the Olive Ridley sea turtles and ensure an uninterrupted and natural nesting process, allowing these protected species to thrive without unnecessary disruptions caused by human activities.

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