Millions of newborn turtles started their journey from nests to the sea April 25, 2021 at the marine sanctuary in Odisha
Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings move towards the sea after emerging from their nests April 25, 2021 at the Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands of the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha. This is an annual sight at Gahirmatha, known as the world’s largest rookery of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles. It is located within Bhitarkanika National Park of Kendrapara district. Photo: Ashis Senapati
A turtle hatchling emerges from its shell on Gahirmatha. Some 349,694 turtles laid eggs from March 9-23 at both islands. A female turtle lays around 80-100 eggs, according to Bikash Ranjan Dash, the divisional forest officer of the park. Photo: Ashis Senapati
A crow devours a baby turtle on the beach. The babies emerge 40-45 days after eggs are laid, in the cool of the night and scurry down the beach to the sea. They face the prospect of being devoured by dogs, jackals and birds. Forest guards have been deployed to prevent this. The babies also face the blinding lights of the nearby Abdul Kalam Island, home to India’s missile programme. The lights can disorient the babies and make them turn towards their nest. Defence personnel have masked the lights to prevent this. Photo: Ashis Senapati
A hatchling hurries towards the sea at Gahirmatha.Odisha declared Gahirmatha a marine sanctuary in 1997. This was done to protect the endangered turtles under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as a Scheduled I animal. The state government has also imposed a ban on fishing activities inside the sanctuary from November 1-May 31 to protect the turtles. Photo: Ashis Senapati
Hatchlings moving towards the sea at Gahirmatha. Effluents released from intensive and semi-intensive prawn farms, fertiliser plants and other industries along the coast are affecting the micro-fauna of the coastal region and subsequently the food chain of the sea turtles including the babies. The decrease in coastal mangrove forests has also had an adverse impact on the feeding and breeding pattern of the baby and adult turtles, according to Hemant Rout, the secretary of Gahiramatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society. Photo: Ashis Senapati
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.