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Ridley nesting online
- Move to provide global exposure

Paradip, Dec. 20: Measures are under way for web casting of the mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles at Gahirmatha.

This is for the first time that web casting of arribada or en-masse egg laying of the turtles is being kicked off to provide global exposure to the unique natural heritage.

The state forest department has undertaken the step to put in place the set-up for such worldwide web viewing, said Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest officer Kedar Kumar Swain.

“A transmitter tower is being installed at the island for hassle-free web connectivity. As the ground area comes under the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary jurisdiction, the forest department would shoulder the responsibility of web broadcasting. However, we will seek technical support and expertise of information technology experts for a successful web viewing,” Swain said.

The web casting would give the much-needed exposure to the marine animals. It would also boost the eco-tourism prospect, he said.

The Gahirmatha beach off the Bay of Bengal coast is incidentally acclaimed as world’s largest-known nesting ground of the turtles.

It’s a virtual treat to watch as these species make their nocturnal visits during the mass nesting. Emerging from the seawaters, they head towards the sandy beaches generating some kind of noise. It unfolds a soothing cacophony.

The turtles loiter around the beach for quite a while before locating their preferred places to lay eggs. Digging out pits, they lay eggs. The species stay over an hour or so at the nesting ground before undertaking their seaward journey.

The female turtles almost invade the nesting beaches usually at the dead of night for laying eggs, the phenomenon otherwise described as arribada.

After indulgence in instinctive egg laying, the turtles leave the nesting ground to stride into the deep seawater. Hatchlings emerge from the eggs after 45 to 60 days. It is a rare natural phenomenon where the babies grow without their mother, said an official.