Endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, which were tagged for the purpose of studying their migration pattern, have reappeared for mass nesting on the sandy Gahirmatha beach in Odisha.
The sighting of tagged turtles on February 22 night, the day mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles started this year, established the belief that these marine creatures prefer Odisha for laying eggs.
Forest Range Officer, Gahirmatha Forest Range, Subrat Patra, who was on duty at the beach and was a witness to this unique phenomenon said, ten female turtles with metallic tags fitted on their flippers were sighted on the beach during mass nesting.
The figure of the tagged turtles could have been higher since locating them amid millions of turtles in the darkness of the night was a Herculean task, he said.
The reappearance of tagged turtles in Gahirmatha provides evidence to the fact that the female turtles return to the same beach annually for laying their eggs, where they were born decades ago, Patra said.
There is every possibility of more tagged turtles turning up to lay eggs, he added.
The state forest department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) over the years had tagged around 30,000 turtles with metallic labels to keep a tab on their pre and post-breeding migration, during arrival of these turtles for mass nesting.
The tagged turtles were spotted re-emerging at the nesting beaches of Gahirmatha, Devi river mouth and Rushikulya river mouth off Odisha coast.
Meanwhile, mass nesting of these delicate reptiles, which commenced a few days back on February 22 night, is in full swing.