By the time it used to celebrate the buzzing congregation of Olive Ridley turtles, Rushikulya is presently breathing a desolate air devoid of the harmonious species. Since time immemorial Olive Ridley turtles migrate to Rushikulya alluvium for mass mating and nestling but even after a month delay their visit seems to be unlike this year. According to the forest department, a few numbers that have turned up about a fortnight ago too have disappeared.
The six-kilometre stretched Rushikulya is a tranquil beach in Ganjam District of my state Odisha, dishes a whole favourable condition for nestling and is the second most ideal rookery of the Olive Ridley Turtles after Gahirimatha. The latter is the world’s largest rookery which perched in the Kenderapada district along the Bay of Bengal. Every year about half a million Olive Ridley turtles visit these two places for biological procreation.
Lakhs of Olive Riddles Turtles far from Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Japan flocks to Rushikulya River mouth from the third week of February to the first week of March for nestling. Indeed the crawling of these creatures out of the sea, selecting a site, digging a hole, laying eggs, covering it in the sand and heading back to sea is an amazing process to observe. A female turtle at once lay around 140-160 eggs and the eggs incubated naturally by the heat of the sand. The eggs hatch in 45-60 days, depending on the atmospheric conditions.
Last year 3, 23,063 Olive Ridley Turtles have nested at the rookery but this year the shore is deserted sans of these nature’s gifted visitors.
Though environmentalists and turtle experts yet to undertake a study to find out the reason for the shockingly dropping numbers still from the general viewpoint the detrimental effect of climate change is clearly manifesting.
This year more ever the sand is hot due to the scorching sun the exceeding temperature casts adverse effects on the embryo. Male turtle porn to high temperature so its survival chance reduces which results in an imbalanced sex ratio which will be a catch for reproduction in future. The southern wind, which helps these giant turtles to climb the beach, is missing this year. The non-conducive cloudy afternoon weather contravenes nestling. The rising temperature of the ocean pose threat to coral reefs which simultaneously havocs dangers on small fishes, this leads to lesser availability of food for turtles which directly hampering nestling activity. Despite the unfavourable conditions, some Sporadic nestling of only 4, 106 turtles have been enumerated this season.
However, the state govt and the Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee have a blitz on in creating a safe habitat for the migratory guests and the area has tagged as the restricted zone to ensure complete protection for the eggs.
But alone govt or NGO’s endeavour will not generate any positive result unless everyone will get aware of the grievous effect of disruption of ecological balance. On the whole, the skipping in numbers of Olive Ridley Turtles in Rushikulya is a chink in the turtle’s existence. Little less we are internalizing the fact to its depth.
And at the end of the wait, thousands of flapping tiny hatchlings rushing towards the sea in the early dawn is a sheer sight to behold. So before this wonderful creature enlisted as endangered let’s preserve this marvellous creature to marvel for our successors.