BHUBANESWAR, India — Known as the most favoured nesting place for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, Odisha is set to utilize this annual phenomenon for promoting tourism, officials said.
"Since Odisha is the most favoured nesting place for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, we should try to market it for tourism promotion by raising watch towers at a safe distance and using binoculars to watch the turtles," Development commissioner R N Senapati said.
Senapati, however, cautioned officials to adopt adequate precautions keeping in mind the interest of the marine creature.
"They should not be disturbed at any cost and ensure that no harm is done to nesting by tourism," he said asking the forest and environment department to chalk out a detailed plan for promotion and regulation of tourism in association with the department of tourism.
While the stretch of beach between Ekakulanasi and Gahiramatha coast of Bhitarkanika is the largest rookery of Olive Ridley in the world, the sandy beach of river Rusikulya in Ganjam district is another mass nesting site for turtles.
Other nesting places are also seen along the river mouths of Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Dhamara, Maipura, Baunshagarh, Hansua,Gobari, Kushabhadra, Kadua, Prachi and Devi, official sources said.
"Odisha holds 50% of total world population of turtles and 90% of Indian population of sea turtles," officials claimed adding the estimated population of Olive Ridley turtles during mass nesting seasons along Odisha coast has shown a constant growth over last decade.
In 2002-03 their number in Gahiramatha and Rusikulya was estimated at 2.81 lakh, which rose to 4.65 lakh in 2005-06 and 5.13 lakh in 2009-10. The year 2010-11 recorded a sharp growth up to 7.24 lakh due to two-time mass nesting in Gahiramatha during that year. In 2011-12 their number was estimated at 5.69 lakh.