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Wildlife lovers elated by turtle births in Gahirmatha

Statesman News Service | Kendrapara |

The enactment of a unique natural heritage- birth of baby turtles sans mother- at the idyllic Gahirmatha beach off Bay of Bengal coast has left the wildlife lovers elated.

As over one lakh of hatchlings broke out of eggshells since pst 48 hours and crawled towards the seawaters, it marks the grand culmination of annual sojourn of Olive turtles along the Odisha coast which is incidentally endowed the World’s largest nesting ground of these animals at Gahirmatha beach.

More than one lakh baby turtles have already emerged out from eggshells since past 48 hours. The emergence of hatchlings would last for at least for seven to ten days.

The number of babies would swell considerably in the coming days, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Prasanna Kumar Acharya. It’s pertinent to note here that 6.67 lakh turtles had congregated at the nesting beach for nesting in March last.

The whole of Nasi-2 Island are teeming with baby turtles and the wildlife officials of Bhitarkanika national park stationed at these nesting grounds were sole witness to this unique natural heritage involving the birth of babies sans mother, said forest officials.

Tourists and researchers were denied entry to savour the unique natural heritage keeping in view the fact that the unmanned islands is located in close vicinity of Wheeler’s island defence test range centre, a prohibited territory.

The babies broke out of the shackles of eggshells and wandered aimlessly around the sandy beach for nearly an hour before making their way to swirling seawater, narrated an awe-struck wildlife staff.

It’s a rare visual treat as the delicate babies with mothers nowhere in sight generated hissing noise thus creating soothing cacophony. Later, they made a beeline towards the sea. After the eggs are incubated under natural process, the hatchlings come out after 45/55 days’ hiatus.

The phenomenon of babies’ emergence from the nests is a unique proposition in itself as “babies grow sans mother.” The mortality rate of hatchlings is exceedingly high as one out of a thousand survives the life cycle to grow into an adult.