BERHAMPUR:Despite various preservation measures, hundreds of Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs were washed away by high tide at Rushikulya rookery in Ganjam district on Sunday.
The arrival of a record number of Olive Ridley turtles earlier this year had raised hope among the wildlife experts of a rise in the number of hatchlings. The eggs were to hatch in a few days. Around 3.10 lakh Olive Ridleys had started laying eggs on a stretch of around six km from Purunabandh to Gokhorkuda village from mid-February. Majority of these Olive Ridley nests were on a sandy stretch of the beach that was earlier used by Olive Ridleys for mass nesting.
According to wildlife experts, usually the eggs need 45 to 50 days for hatching and during previous years the process got over by April. But the hatching this year was expected in early May due to delay in arrival and nesting of the Olive Ridleys.
Divisional Forest Officer, Berhampur, SS Mishra visited the rookery to take stock of the situation on Monday. He said every year, five to 10 per cent of eggs get damaged. But this year, the number is much higher due to high tide, he added. Rising temperature also posed a problem for hatching as they incubate by the temperature of the sand.
Berhampur Forest Division along with the youths of Purunabandh and Gokhorkuda villages has taken up the job of relocating the eggs from the shore, burying them and taking care till the hatchlings come out.