Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Apr 25:
The number of eggs laid by Olive Ridley turtles on the Astaranga coast of Odisha is the highest in the last 10 years, forest officials have said.
While 62000 eggs had been collected from these areas last year, the number has risen to a whopping 95, 000 this year, officials said attributing the larger number this year to favourable breeding conditions.
“We have witnessed better numbers this year compared to the last 10 years,” said Chitta Ranjan Mishra, DFO of Puri.
More than 34000 of hatchlings have already been released to the sea from 328 turtle nests.
However, the number of hatchling deaths too has registered a quantum jump. While about 1300 hatchlings has died last year, nearly 3, 000 have perished this year.
Mishra explained the higher number of deaths thus; “Given that more turtles came here this year, it is only natural that more hatchlings died this year. We are trying different things to contain the death rate,” he said.
The eggs were kept carefully in a temporary incubation centre by the forest officials. “A better environment resulted in more turtles coming here and laying eggs,” said Sisirkant Pradhan of the incubation centre.
Turtle conservation officials cite environmental factors to explain the higher numbers this year. “Cyclone Phailin, Hudhud and other environmental factors affected the breeding in the last few years. But this year, the conditions have been ideal for turtle breeding,” said Ratha Pradhan, who works at the temporary incubation centre.