Over the last couple of years, frequent news on Olive Ridley turtles washing ashore on Odisha and Andhra beaches made environmentalists extremely worried. The endangered species was found dead in large numbers after getting trapped in illegal fishing boats and nets, setting off alarm for wildlife conservationists.
However, in today’s good news, the Ridley turtles may have just turned the tide around in their favour.
According to an official statement released on Monday, the turtles laid a record number of 3.55 lakh eggs! The news has conservationists dancing with joy for it brings with it the prospect of saving the reptiles from extinction.
Ashish Kumar Behera, the Divisional Forest Officer of Berhampur division told IANS, “Over 3,55,000 eggs have been laid by Olive Ridley sea turtles within a week of mass nesting in the Rushikulya river mouth of Ganjam coast, making an all-time record. The turtles had laid 3,09,000 eggs last year.”
He did add that they were still calculating and the number may go up to 4 lakh as the process of laying eggs that began on February 13 ended on February 20.
The Forest Department has now put in place high security to ensure that the turtles can safely hatch their eggs.
“We have already made all arrangements, including establishing observation camps. The coasts have been fenced with nets and have started thorough patrolling in the sea for the protection of the turtles and their eggs during the mass nesting,” added Ashish Kumar Behera.
The department has also stationed security personnel in speedboats to ensure that the coast is guarded to prevent the entry of illegal trawlers.