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Birth of baby turtles sans mothers- a unique natural heritage

The emergence of baby Olive Ridley marine turtles since Tuesday night (11 April, 2017) along the tranquil and serene Gahirmatha beach along Odisha’s Bay of Bengal coast has provided soothing relief to conservationists across the globe.

The unique natural heritage with birth of babies sans mother marks the grand culmination of annual sojourn of Olive turtles along the Odisha coast which is incidentally endowed with  the World’s largest nesting ground of these aquatic animals at Gahirmatha beach.    

Wildlife lovers are elated as hatchlings broke out of eggshells and crawled towards their seaward journey in the tranquil nesting grounds at Nasi-2 Island off Gahirmatha coast.

It’s pertinent to note here that the third highest ever congregation of marine species has taken place in idyllic unmanned Island with 6, 04,641 turtles turning up for nesting.

Since Tuesday night (11 April, 2017), newborn babies are emerging with mother turtles nowhere in sight. The whole of Nasi-2 Island is teeming with baby turtles and the wildlife officials of Bhitarkanika national park stationed at these nesting grounds were sole witness to this unique natural heritage involving the birth of babies sans mother, said forest officials.

Tourists and researchers were denied entry to savour the unique natural heritage keeping in view the fact that the unmanned islands is located in close vicinity of Wheeler's island defence test range centre, a prohibited territory.

“The emergence of hatchlings from egg shells is expected to continue for at least for a week. The one-kilo-metre beach is virtually littered with newly born hatchlings. The babies were literally jostling for space on the beach to loiter around before their final plunge into the seawater, said Bimal Prasana Acharya, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division.

The babies broke out of the shackles of eggshells and wandered aimlessly around the sandy beach for nearly an hour before making their way to swirling seawater, narrated an awe-struck wildlife staff.

The babies broke out of the shackles of eggshells and wandered aimlessly around the sandy beach for nearly an hour before making their way to swirling seawater, narrated an awe-struck wildlife staff.

It's a rare visual treat as the delicate babies with mothers nowhere in sight generated hissing noise thus creating soothing cacophony. Later, they made a beeline towards the sea. No wildlife researcher made it to the place this time to witness the rare natural phenomenon because of prohibition on visit to the place.

"Nearly two lakh hatchlings have emerged out of pits since past 24 hours. The process of turtle birth is expected to continue for few more days," said officials.

After the eggs are incubated under natural process, the hatchlings come out after 45/55 days' hiatus. The phenomenon of babies' emergence from the nests is a unique proposition in itself as "babies grow sans mother."

The nesting beaches at the idyllic islands free from human interference also happen to be the most congenial and conducive spots for turtles' mass nesting. But of late these beaches are undergoing sea erosion, adversely affecting the ideal turtle habitat, according to official sources.

The mortality rate of hatchlings is exceedingly high as one out of a thousand survives the life cycle to grow into an adult. 
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