An Estimated 60 Million Sea Turtle Eggs Have Been Laid On India’s Beaches

Hawksbill turtles scramble down in empty beach in Brazil. Via City Hall of Paulista

With the current pandemic changing the lives of billions across the planet with the implementation of social distancing, one bright spot is the positive impact on wildlife as their natural environment is free of human activity.

In the latest example, eastern India has seen a huge influx of sea turtles making their way to beaches across the country to lay their eggs free of human activity and reduced pollution allowing for a much safer and productive hatching season.

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The arribada or the mass nesting of olive Ridleys is nothing short of magic. Olive Ridleys live in oceans and only come to land to nest. When the females grow up, they return to the same beaches to lay eggs. How they navigate back was a mystery for a long time but recent science suggests that individual beaches have magnetic fields unique to them. When the turtles hatch, these fields are imprinted into their brains, allowing them to sense it when they need to return. It’s a magnificent internal compass as accurate as the latitudes and longitudes used by humans. Read a spectacular story by Swati Thiyagarajan @swatithiyagarajan on the nesting phenomenon on our website. Link in bio. . Photo: Kartik Shanker @shanker_kartik #arribada #odisha #oliveridley #oliveridleyturtle #nesting #rushikulya #turtle #India #wildlife #conservation #biodiversity #wildlifeIndia #turtles🐢 #massnesting #breed #naturalworld #rgsustain

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In the state of Orissa, India at their marine sanctuary, it was estimated that 407, 194 olive Ridley sea turtles laid eggs from March 14th-21st.

Olive and Kemp’s ridleys are the smallest of the sea turtles, weighing up to 100 pounds and reaching only about 2 feet in shell length. The olive ridley has a slightly smaller head and smaller shell than the Kemp’s.

According to The Hindu, local protection authorities did their best to ensure that the spawning occurred in a protected way. The news comes after another mass nesting, which took place on Gahirmatha beach, was also successful. Adding the eggs laid by turtles with more security due to the blocking of activities by Coronavirus, the authorities have come to estimate that, in total, there will be about 60 million.

Though the olive ridley is widely considered the most abundant of the marine turtles, by all estimates, it is in trouble. Its numbers, particularly in the western Atlantic, have declined precipitously.

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