• Visakhapatnam is one of the important sporadic nesting zones for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles on the East Coast.
  • Every winter, thousands of them come ashore to lay their eggs.
  • While the coast of Odisha still remains a site of mass nesting, places like Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh are also seeing an increase in the number of nests
  • This year in Visakhapatnam over 80,000 eggs where collected of which 10,000 hatchlings have been released so far.
  • We are hoping that the number of eggs might go up by another 5, 000 this year.
  • Last year around 80,000 eggs were collected of which 73,000 hatchlings were released.
  • The turtles that predominately come to Visakhapatnam from the Mexican coast, mate at sea and then come ashore to lay clusters of eggs on the beaches.
  • Females dig holes in the sand to lay the eggs, cover them and return to the sea.
  • The eggs hatch in a span of 45 to 60 days depending upon the temperature.
  • Tiny turtle hatchlings make their way from the nest to the sea, using the light from the horizon as their guide.
  • However, due to rapid urbanisation of coastal areas, lights from hotels and buildings near the coast confuse the hatchlings and they go astray.
  • That is why releasing the hatchlings has become an important part of the conservation process.
  • In an attempt to conserve the eggs, and prevent the death of hatchlings due to human interference and stray dog menace, the Forest Department built hatcheries.

What can you do to help in conservation?

  • Keep the beaches clean
  • Keep away from the nesting zones
  • Volunteer for the conservation for collecting eggs and releasing the hatchlings
  • The eggs that are laid along the coast are brought and buried in these hatcheries. A
  • Experts believe that turtles can retrace their birthplace and mature females return there to lay their eggs.
  • Hence apart from the efforts by the authorities to conserve the turtles this is another trait that is leading to the increase in number of nests.
  • It takes around 20 to 25 years for a turtle to reach adulthood.
  • Hence it is believed that the turtles that were born here in the 90s are returning to the city to lay eggs.

Nestings this year

  • There has been an overall increase in the nesting from 23 nests in 1999 to over 700 nests this year.
  • The volunteers have discovered 756 nests in the stretch from Naval Coastal Battery to Bheemunipatnam
  • Around 80,000 eggs have been collected in the five hatcheries which will be released in phases until May.