While nesting of Olive Ridley turtles has occurred way before schedule at Ganjam's Rushikulya river mouth, Gahirmatha, world's largest rookery, is expecting the marine species by month-end. The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Division has already put in place a string of measures to facilitate safe nesting.
Going by their position in the sea, the marine turtles are expected for the mass nesting either by end of February or early March.
"It is imminent and unless there is a change in the sea current, there should not be any delay in the nesting because the Olive Ridleys are here," Divisional Forest Officer Manoj Kumar Mohapatra said. Last year, close to four lakh turtles had arrived for mass nesting and the wildlife officials expect a good outing this year too and have laid out a protective cover for the nesting.
At least 16 camps have been established along Gahirmatha beach and Devi mouth. Besides, off-shore camps have been set up at Babubali and Agarnasi islands. The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Division has also set up five hatcheries in case sporadic nesting takes place. To ensure that fishing trawlers and boats do not disturb the Olive Ridleys, the wildlife officials have spread a security net by deploying four trawlers and five support boats.
"At least 100 personnel have been engaged in enforcing the patrolling and monitoring work and we have been thwarting illegal fishing," Mohapatra said. On Tuesday, two boats had been seized while fishing in the banned waters. Since November, at least 70 boats have been seized and nearly 300 fishermen arrested by the wildlife officials.