BHUBANESWAR: At a time when the State is battling coronavirus outbreak, nesting of around 8 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles at rookeries in Rushikalya and Gahirmatha for laying eggs has brought cheer to marine conservationists.
Around 3.7 lakh Olive Ridleys have nested at Rushikulya rookery so far this year while 4.2 lakh turned up at Gahirmatha. The total number of turtles that have nested at these rookeries so far is a little over 7.9 lakh. While mass nesting at Gahirmatha is over, it is continuing at Rushikulya. It is estimated that around six crore eggs will be laid this year.
With mass nesting expected to continue for a few more days, the number may rise further, forest officials said. Restrictions imposed as part of COVID-19 lockdown has saved the rookeries from human intrusion this year leading to undisturbed nesting of the turtles.
The Forest department has engaged speed and country boats at both the places for regular patrolling to keep a watch on the turtles.