Kendrapara (Odisha): Nearly 1.48 crore baby turtles emerged out of the eggshells at the Gahirmatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, officials said on Saturday. These turtles are of the endangered Olive Ridley species.
The uninhabited region of Gahirmatha island is currently witnessing the unique natural phenomenon — the birth of baby Olive Ridley turtles sans mothers.
“A total of 1.48 crore of baby turtles have broken out of eggshells to mingle in the Gahirmatha seawaters till Thursday, marking the grand culmination of the annual sojourn of Olive Ridley sea turtles to this unmanned Gahirmatha Island,” said Bikash Ranjan Dash, the Divisional Forest Officer of Bhitarkanika Mangrove (Wildlife).
Travelling 1000s of km, Olive Ridley comes to lay eggs in 2 rookeries of Odisha. In Gahiramatha, 4 lakhs of them, each laying more than 100 laid eggs.
Here they go. More than 40M new lives to Bay of Bengal.Salutations to the frontline staff, for protecting these annual guests 🙏 pic.twitter.com/82Ap8zpTT1
— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) May 5, 2021
He also added how the baby turtles began taking birth on April 25 and the annual event has now reached its fag-end.
These newborns have emerged from 2.98 lakh nests, which were dug by female turtles in order to lay eggs at the Nasi-ii Island, close to defence installation at the Wheelers’ Island, the Divisional Forest Officer said, while also assuring that round-the-clock vigil is being maintained to ensure the safety of the baby turtles.
Upon emerging from the nests for the very first time, the baby turtles loiter on the beach for almost an hour before embarking their journey towards the sea, he said.
Gahirmatha beach is widely renowned as the largest nesting ground in the world for these endangered species of turtles, and this year, 3.49 lakh female turtles had turned up for mass nesting, a phenomenon called ‘arribada’.
As the nests were not damaged and remained mostly intact, hatchlings were on the higher side, the official said.
Each female lays around 100 to 120 eggs. Hatchlings emerge out of the eggshells after 45-50 days of the incubation period, he said.