Kendrapara: More than three lakhs Olive Ridley turtles have so far reached Gahirmatha beach, the world’s largest rookery of the marine reptile species, in Kendrapara district to lay eggs this time, an official said on Saturday.
Mass nesting of the turtles started on Thursday night on Nasi-II beach of Gahirmatha, he said.
“According to our counting, 2,14,058 turtles laid eggs on Thursday and 88,605 more arrived for mass nesting in the next day. Over 3 lakh turtles have turned up on Gahirmatha beach since March 9,” the official said.
Last year, more than five lakh Olive Ridley turtles had arrived at Gahirmatha to lay eggs.
“This year’s count is likely to cross that of the previous season,” Gahirmatha forest range officer Bichitranda Behera said.
The Rushikulya coast, another mass nesting site of the marine reptile, in Ganjam district, witnessed a record number of over 6.37 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles arriving there for mass nesting in eight days from February 23 this year.
“We are expecting a large congregation at Gahirmatha in the next 2-3 days, while the mass nesting is expected to continue for a week,” Behera said.
Female Olive Ridley turtles virtually invade the nesting beaches, usually in the dead of the night for laying eggs. They usually lay around 120-150 eggs and return to the sea, another official said.
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