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Endangered Olive Ridley turtles flock in huge numbers for a mass nesting on the beaches of India's eastern Orissa state. Females dig a pit on the beach and lay their eggs which hatch together at night around 50 days later. But the turtles are an endangered species, so people are on hand to make sure the turtles nest undisturbed.
Endangered Olive Ridley turtles flock in huge numbers for a mass nesting on the beaches of Gahirmatha in India's eastern Orissa state.
The Olive Ridley and its sister species, Kemp Ridley, are the only turtles to exhibit synchronized nesting behavior.
Mass nesting at Gahirmatha began around February 28 and around 358,000 turtles have nested at the site.
[Ranjan Ku Das, Sub-collector, Gahirmatha]:
"The nest site selection of this turtle depends upon different beach characteristics. Various beach characteristics might be - the sand particle size, the temperature, the slope and the beach geomorphology itself."
Police are deployed on the beach to ensure the safe and undisturbed mass nesting of the turtles.
[Prabhakar Sabat, Forester]:
"All the police and forest officers have been deployed here, they are keeping watch and surveillance over the trawlers and other boatmen who are having fishing activity in this area, and overnight also they are staying here to keep watch on the safe nesting of Olive Ridley turtles."
The beaches of Orissa see the highest number of nesting females.
Females dig a pit on the beach and lay more than 100 eggs that hatch together at night around 50 days later.
Just one in a thousand of the hatchlings reach adulthood.
The baby turtles drift for hundreds of miles on ocean currents before the females make it back to the beaches where they were born to nest.
The Olive Ridley sea turtle has been listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union since 1986 because of declining numbers.