With the arrival of more than six lakh endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, the serene and idyllic Gahirmatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has re-established itself as the world’s largest known rookery of these marine animals.
The delicate marine species that have dug out neat pits on the sandy beach have laid over seven crore eggs. However, space constraints on the nesting beach has led to the damage of eggs as the marine animals re-digged the pits where nests had been erected earlier, a forest official said.
Since the commencement of mass-nesting -- described as ‘arribada’, a Spanish term used for en masse laying eggs by turtle species -- on February 22, the third highest ever congregation of marine species has taken place in the idyllic unmanned Island. About 6,01,641 turtles turned up the beach for nesting, the official said.
The highest record of mass nesting was registered in 2001, with 7,41,000 turtles while the second best was 7,11,000 turtles in 2000. This year the spectacular natural phenomenon is still continuing since the past one week and is expected to last for at least three to four days, they said.
“It will be no surprise if the mass nesting record of past years is bettered this time,” said Subrat Patra, forest range officer, Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.