Every year, Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings traverse a small distance in Odisha's Gahiramatha Sanctuary to take the plunge into life, literally
Millions of baby turtles emerged from their shells on April 23, 2020, at the Gahiramatha Wildlife Sanctuary, the world's largest rookery of Olive Ridley turtles. They emerged 40 days after female turtles built nests on the beach and laid eggs in them. Photo: Ashis Senapati
Clumsy and slow on land, the 2-inch baby Olive Ridley turtles have better chances of survival once they make it to deep water. With special visual skills that have evolved over millennia, hatchling turtles reach the sea by following the glow from reflected moonlight and starlight. Photo: Ashis Senapati
Around 4,07,194 turtles had laid eggs from March 14-21, 2020 at the Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands. A female turtle lays around 80-100 eggs. The Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands cover only four km and are surrounded by the sea due to which the mortality of the baby turtles is not so high. Photo: Ashis Senapati
However, that does not mean it is a short, joyful ride for the baby turtles. Land predators like dogs, jackals and birds of prey can take a baby turtle anytime during its trek to the sea. Forest guards are deployed to fend off the predators. Photo: Ashis Senapati
The mortality rate of the baby turtles in the sea water is high and out of one thousand baby turtles, only one turtle survives to become an adult. After reaching about 20 years of age, the baby turtle comes to the same beach for mating and laying eggs where it was born. Photo: Ashis Senapati
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