Olive ridley sea turtle, an endangered
species enjoying highest protection status as that of Royal Bengal Tiger under
wildlife protection act, would be the mascot of 22nd Asian Athletics
Championship scheduled to be held in July in Bhubaneswar.
Incidentally, Gori, world’s lone captive
albino croc, was the mascot for the National Youth Festival that had been held
at Bhubaneswar in 2010.
Olive Ridleys are rare natural heritage.
Odisha has found a pride of place being home to World’s largest rookery of
these aquatic species. That’s who the government has decided to confer mascot
status to Olive turtle in the forthcoming mega sporting event, said Odisha
sports minister Sudam Marandi.
The decision on mascot was unanimously
adopted by governing body of the championship. The official announcement in
this regard would be made shortly. The mega international event is scheduled to
get kick-start from July 6. An estimated 600 athletes including 20 world
champions of 45 countries will participate at the international event in Odisha.
The ridleys invade the Gahirnmatha beach
in millions and lay eggs en-masse, a rare natural phenomenon which is otherwise
described ‘arribada’ (a Spanish term for mass nesting). Nowhere in globe, such
large congregation of olive turtles occurs, that’s why Gahirmatha beach in
Odisha’s Kendrapara district is considered as world’s largest nesting ground of
sea turtles. This year, over 6 lakh turtles had turned at the beach for laying