File photo of Olive Ridley hatchlings making their way into sea Credit: Twitter

Pollution levels have reduced drastically and animals are reclaiming the streets. Coronavirus seems to be helping nature recoup. There is good news from Odisha where the Olive Ridley sea turtles have arrived for nesting and the lockdown is providing perfect conditions for them.

They have came in thousands along the six-kilometre-long Rushikulya beach of Odisha’s Ganjam district in the last five days.

These rare sea turtles known for mass nesting, come to the Odisha coast every year for nesting. According to the Odisha Wildlife Organisation ( OWO), nearly 50 per cent of the world’s Olive Ridley turtle population come here.

On March 22 at around 2 am, 2,000 female Olive Ridleys came out of the sea to the beach, Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Amlan Nayak, told The Hindu.

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The female turtles reportedly return to the same beach from where they hatched, to lay their eggs. The coast of Odisha is the largest mass nesting site.

Over 72,142 Olive Ridleys have arrived at the beach to dig nests and lay eggs, since Tuesday morning.

Each nest has on an average 100 eggs. The incubation period is around 45 days.

Forest Department also claimed that this year could see the highest number of turtles, “Every alternate year is either a bad year or a good year. However, in the last two years we have seen a phenomenal increase in nesting numbers. This year we have estimated that at least 4.75 lakh turtles came on to nest on Rushikulya beach.”

Tourists have been barred from visiting Rushikulya due to the countrywide lockdown in place since March 24. But turtle researchers and environmentalists have been allowed to visit the nesting sites.

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.

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