The coronavirus pandemic has probably changed the world for good. As numerous countries are isolated while trying to combat the fast-spreading COVID-19, nature seems to recover, and numerous cities have seen a dramatic drop in pollution.
In India, which has gone into a nation-wide lockdown since March 24, Olive Ridley sea turtles return to Odisha beach to lay their eggs.
The coast of Odisha is the largest mass nesting site, and according to the Odisha Wildlife Organization ( OWO), over 50% of the world population of Olive Ridley turtles comes at the state’s coasts for nesting.
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The arribada or the mass nesting of olive Ridleys is nothing short of magic. Olive Ridleys live in oceans and only come to land to nest. When the females grow up, they return to the same beaches to lay eggs. How they navigate back was a mystery for a long time but recent science suggests that individual beaches have magnetic fields unique to them. When the turtles hatch, these fields are imprinted into their brains, allowing them to sense it when they need to return. It’s a magnificent internal compass as accurate as the latitudes and longitudes used by humans. Read a spectacular story by Swati Thiyagarajan @swatithiyagarajan on the nesting phenomenon on our website. Link in bio. . Photo: Kartik Shanker @shanker_kartik #arribada #odisha #oliveridley #oliveridleyturtle #nesting #rushikulya #turtle #India #wildlife #conservation #biodiversity #wildlifeIndia #turtles🐢 #massnesting #breed #naturalworld #rgsustain
These sea turtles used to come in flocks there to dig nests and lay their eggs, but due to crowds of visitors that wanted to witness the phenomenon, ships, and unhindered human movement, they have limited their visits to the beach.
Yet, they have now appeared in great numbers at the Gahirmatha Beach and Odisha’s Rushikulya Rookery. According to the Forest Department, over 250,000 mother turtles have engaged in building nests in only a week.
ARRIBADA ~Spanish Word -- means ‘Arrival’ 🐢
Refers to mass-nesting event when 1000s of Turtles come ashore at the same time to lay eggs on the same beach.
Interestingly, females return to the very same beach from where they first hatched, to lay their eggs.
🏖️ Olive Ridley Turtle pic.twitter.com/dvzslqA8zW
— Ankit Kumar, IFS (@AnkitKumar_IFS) March 26, 2020
If this happened in normal conditions, numerous people would come to witness it, and would cause a disaster. Turtles don’t like much attention when nesting.
This year, they will be undisturbed, as only 25 forest researchers and guards are allowed on the beach to protect these endangered sea turtles. To lay their eggs, mother turtles reportedly return to the same beach from where they hatched.
A female turtle can lay around 80-100 eggs on average, and the eggs take about 45 days to hatch. Once they do, they move to the sea. Over time, these sea turtles can grow 2 feet in size and weigh up to 50 kilos.
This year, experts expect a gradual increase in nesting.
Awesome! We all needed to hear some good news!