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Turtles invade beach for mass nesting

Statesman News Service | Kendrapara |

Olive Ridley sea turtles have appeared on the tranquil nesting grounds of Gahirmatha, regarded as World’s largest rookery of these species, for mass nesting.

Nearly one lakh female turtles have so far turned up at the beach since past 24 hours. The marine animals virtually invaded the beach and dug out nests to laid eggs. After laying eggs, the marine animals were spotted loitering around the beach before leaping back to seawaters.

The mass nesting process commenced after the daybreak and continued till the wee hours. This being a unique natural heritage is a visual treat to watch.

The mass nesting is expected to continue for at least five to six days more. By the time the phenomenon would end, the number of marine visitors to the Nasi- 1 and Nasi-2 islands would go up manifold, said forest officials. Last year 6.04 lakh turtles had crawled their way to Gahirmatha beach for mass nesting.

Forest officials are of the view that the number of visiting turtles would go up in coming days. With the climatic condition being conducive and beach topography being ideal, the turnout of these marine creatures would rise up manifold in coming days, said forest officials. Wildlife experts were earlier apprehensive that the marine species might skip their annual visit this year.

Forest officials are relieved a lot as turtles finally turned at the nesting ground in large numbers.The nesting beaches along the Nasi-1 and Nasi- 2 Island close the missile test range centre at Wheeler’s Island are teeming with female turtles, who have made a beeline towards the nesting beach. Digging pits with flippers, the marine animals are laying eggs on the serene beach in millions,

Gahirmatha beach off Bay of Bengal coast is incidentally acclaimed as World’s largest known nesting ground of these animals.Emerging from the sea waters, the female marine species have literally occupied the sandy beaches by force. The turtles’ sojourn in unmanned island with idyllic environs was a virtual treat to watch.

The Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 Island are incidentally located in close proximity to Defence Research Development Organization’s defence installation at Wheeler’s Island. That’s why no outsider was permitted to witness the natural phenomenon. Only the forest officials could witness the event.

The turtles loitered around the serene beach for quite a while before instinctively locating their preferred places to lay eggs. Digging out pits, they laid eggs.

The species stayed over an hour or so at the nesting ground before undertaking their seaward journey. About 50 forest personnel are deployed on the beach to keep vigil and to ensure the safe and undisturbed mass nesting of turtle species, said officials.