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Odisha: Olive Ridley turtles arrive at Behrampur coast for mass nesting

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Google Oneindia News

Bhubaneswar, Apr 01: Lakhs of olive ridley turtles have begun crowding the tranquil Gahirmatha beach in Odisha, as part of their annual journey to lay eggs, presenting a rare natural phenomenon and a breathtaking sight, officials said.

''A total of 2 lakh 42 thousand turtles have arrived. We will ensure that no problem occurs during mass nesting. Field staff are deployed to monitor the census of turtles,'' Amalan Nayak, DFO, Berhampur said.

Odisha: Olive Ridley turtles arrive at Behrampur coast for mass nesting

The Gahirmatha beach is widely regarded as the world's largest-known nesting ground of these reptiles. Apart from Gahirmatha, the turtles also arrive at the Rushikulya and Devi river mouths for mass nesting, they said.

Last year, 3,49,694 female turtles had turned up at the nesting grounds to lay eggs from March 9 to March 23.
The females virtually invade the nesting beaches, usually at the dead of the night, for laying eggs. They usually lay around 120-150 eggs and return to the sea, another official said.

Hatchlings usually emerge after 45-60 days.

Out of every 1,000 hatchlings that enter the sea, only one manages to reach adulthood, according to official data.

Illegal egg poaching, turtle harvesting and nest destruction by humans are some of the major threats these reptiles face, apart from climate change, the officials said.

The Forest Department has been prioritising the safety of the nests, with wildlife staff on round-the-clock vigil to keep predators like jackals, hyenas and wild dogs at bay, they said.

Olive ridley sea turtle

The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known commonly as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a species of turtle in the family Cheloniidae. The species is the second-smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world. L. olivacea is found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but also in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

This turtle and the related Kemp's ridley turtle are best known for their unique synchronised mass nestings called arribadas, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.

The olive ridley turtle has a circumtropical distribution, living in tropical and warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans from India, Arabia, Japan, and Micronesia south to southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

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