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Mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley may delayed due to climatic change

Published on: 23-Jan-2012 09:09:44
Mass nesting of endangered Olive Ridley may delayed due to climatic change

Kendrapada: The forest personnel of Gahirmatha Marine sanctuary earlier expected that arribada (a Spanish term used for mass nesting) would occur in the early week of February. However due to the climatic change following depression occurred in Bay of Bengal recently, the mass nesting phenomenon of the olive ridley sea turtles will be delayed.

It is expected that the mass nesting would held after February 15,said official sources.

According to Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, the DFO Rajnagar mangrove (Forest) and Wildlife Division, as long as suitability has not come to the climate, the nesting of olive ridley sea turtle would not occur at the largest rookery of the olive ridley sea turtle. Meanwhile, the turtle have returned to the deep sea due to the recent depression at the coast. It would again return to the shore after the suitability of climate.   

According to Mohapatra, the endangered olive Ridley turtle, protected under Schedule 1 of wildlife Protection Act,1972, grows up to 75 centimeters (25 inches) in length and the turtle is found in the tropical regions of the pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans and   during the mating season ,which starts from December  -January , the species  congregate in lakhs for 'arribada's in the sandy beaches of Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary under Bhitarkanika National Park.

Mohapatra further said, during the breeding season, males and females  migrate from their feeding ground  to the breeding ground, mating occurs in the offshore waters  of the breeding The female turtles tend to move towards the beaches in large synchronized concentrations.

They lay their eggs at midnight in 45 centimeters pits, which they dig 2-3 foot long pits to lay eggs with their rear flippers. After laying the eggs in the pits, the female turtles cover the nests with sand and return to the sea in a zigzag manner to confuse predators about the location of the nests.

The endangered species are rarely  turn up in such large numbers anywhere in the planet which comes en-masse to Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.

The female olive Ridley sea turtles lay 120- 150 eggs in a go. Hatchlings emerge from these eggs after 45-60 days and find their way to the sea creating a cacophony. It is one of the Nature’s rare phenomenon where babies grow without their mother.

According to DFO, the endangered species mortality rate is so high that one egg out of every 1000 eggs laid, ultimately hatches and the hatchlings survives to become an adult Olive Ridley.

Studies indicate that Olive Ridley spends six months in a year at the coastal waters of Odisha. The species migrate from Gulf of Mannar and West coast of Sri Lanka to the Bay of Bengal.

To  protect the endangered Olive Ridley Sea turtles during the oncoming mating and   nesting season of turtles at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary,the  Bhitarkanika Forest personnel have sought the help from coast guards , Marine police and DRDO(Defence Research & Development Organisation) personnel of Wheeler island to step up surveillance in and around the inner and outer wheeler island during the oncoming nesting season of Olive Ridleys.

Even, the authorities of test range centre at Wheelers’ island, under the administrative control of DRDO, have beenasked to   mask  the light, which comes from the wheeler Island Test Range to the sea, for providing security to the endangered species as the endangered species generally skip from the shore for laying eggs when they came in contact with  lights, said official sources.

On last turtle nesting season, about 5.20  lakh of Olive Ridley sea turtles arrived on the sandy beach in two phases  to south Nasi  for laying eggs and laid eggs there.

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