**Berhampur:** Lakhs of endangered Olive Ridley turtles flock in the Rushikulya Rookery in Ganjam district every year for mass nesting in the third week of February to first week of March. But, this year, the 7 km stretch of the sea beach beween Purunabandha and Kalarabadi witnessed thousands of Olive Ridley turtles re-appearing for mass nesting for the second time this year.
It is the second most preferred nesting ground of turtles after Gahirmatha beach in Kendrapada district.
“This re-emergence of the turtles has been witnessed after 12 years. Similar incidents were seen few times between 1994 and 2006. During February-March this year, a record number of 4.45 lakh turtles had reached Rushikulya coast to lay eggs and that is a record of 24 years. In two days, more than 40,000 turtles have adready been spottedduring the second mass nesting this season. It will continue for a few more days,” informed Rabindra Sahu, Secretary, Rushikulya Samudraika Kaincha Surakhya Parishad.
“The main challenge now lies in providing security to these eggs. The eggs will incubate for around 50-60 days on their own because of the sand’s heat. The coasts will have to be fenced and security measures have to be undertaken with the co-ordination and co-operation of the Forest Department officials, villagers and volunteers,” he further added.
Notably, ‘Olly’ has been designated the permanent mascot for all national and international sports events to be held in State by the Odisha Government as it signifies the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles travel thousands of miles in the ocean and arrive in lakhs every year on the Rushikulya and Gahimatha beaches of the State for their annual nesting.
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