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Hot climate prevents endangered turtles from visiting Rushikuya rookery to lay eggs

Rushikuya rookery will not see turtles this year due to hot and unfavourable climate conditions. Annual mass nesting takes place at the rookery and absence of southern wind and heatwaves has made climate non-conducive to lay eggs even in the warm days. Officials have spotted only 13 turtles yet at the site.

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Global average temperature is rising which is not only affecting the human lifestyle but also shaking the animal kingdom. Last 15 years were hottest in the past century that has affected the climate severely. Seeing the trends, the wildlife authorities have predicted that endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles will skip mass nesting this year due to rising temperature and shrinking beach.

“The recent rise in mercury is the biggest impendiment in the nesting,” said principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife) Siddhant Das.

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Over two lakh Olive Ridley turtle species participate in the mass nesting year. Mass nesting goes on for four to six days where all the turtles lay their eggs. The turtle species generally gather at Rushikuya rookery for the event. Previously, mass nesting had taken place from April 4 to 7 in 2006, March 4 to April 10 in 2008 and April 3 to 9 in 2010. In addition, last year in 2015, over 2.01 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles had laid eggs in the rookery from March 10 to 15.

Now, environment enthusiasts believe that the time for nesting has almost passed and it is very unlikely that the turtles will climb the beach in vast number to participate in the mass nesting.

While explaining, chief conservator of forests (retd) Sudhakar Mohapatra said that southern wind plays a crucial role as it helps slow turtles in climbing the beach, but this year it is missing may be due to warming of climate. During examination, it was found that the atmosphere at the 4-km long beach strip that extends from Gokharakuda to Kantiagada is not conducive for mass nesting even in the cloudy weather.

A part of beach got eroded this year which might also be the reason behind the absence of mass nesting, said Rabindra Sahu, Secretary of Rushikulya sea turtle protection committee.

Moreover, at least 13 turtles have gathered to lay their eggs on the beach and some people still are hoping that the bunch turtle will arrive and gather together for the stunning event.

First published on Apr 10, 2016 at 17:15.

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