Odisha coast: Climatic conditions cause delay in nesting of Olive Ridley turtles

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Berhampore, March 18:The changing climatic conditions have taken a toll on the nesting time of Olive Ridley turtles. This can be said as mass nesting has not started yet, which was due in the month of February and March.

Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashis Behera said,"Mating of Olive Ridleys in the sea near this coast was also slightly delayed this year. As per the records, in the past mass nesting had occurred at Rushikulya rookery coast even in April. So, we still hope that mass nesting would occur here."

Odisha

Willife experts, patrolling the sea near the rookery, say that thousands of turtles continue to congregate in the sea which implies that they may be waiting for a conducive environment to lay eggs.

It is believed that the gestation period for these turtles is 50 days, but females have the capacity of keeping these eggs inside their bodies for a long time. There are also speculations that the delay is due to massive sea erosion, but experts believe otherwise, saying that these can climb high walls of sand of about 2-3 feet high. Moreover, rain on Feb 26 and March 15 has packed up the sand tightly, which is a hindrance for the turtles who dig up the sand with their flippers to lay eggs.

"It seems these turtles are waiting for wind to flow from land towards sea which always coincides with mass nesting. This wind prevents smell of eggs reaching predators on land near the coast," said one of the wildlife experts here.

Hoping that the turtles start nesting once again when the wind direction changes toward the sea, experts have established observation camps, fencing of coast with net and patrolling in the sea to protect the Olive Ridley turtles and their eggs.

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