Berhampur, India — Nature lovers would soon be able to watch a live broadcast of the unique phenomenon of mass-nesting and hatching of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles near the mouth of Rushikulya river in Odisha.
The state government is planning to set up a Marine Biodiversity Interpretation Centre as part of an eco-tourism project at Boxipalli, a fishermen village about a km from Gopalpur-on-Sea, officials said.
Thousands of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles visit Rushikulya in February and March every year for mass nesting.
Hundreds of visitors, including researchers and nature lovers, throng the mass nesting spot to witness the unusual sight.
"With a direct telecast, visitors can witness the annual phenomenon without going to the spot," divisional forest officer (Berhampur) S S Mishra said adding that it will also help reduce the crowd which might disturb the turtles during nesting at Ganjam coast.
"The project will help boost the tourism industry in the district as the tourists who visit Gopalpur will also visit Baxipalli," Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi said.
The eco-tourist complex, according to DFO will be run by local people. The main objective of the project was to provide alternative livelihood to the marine fishermen of the area during the period of fishing ban in the sea, he said.
The government has imposed prohibition on fishing in Ganjam coast from November 1 to May 31 for safety of the Olive Ridleys.
Around Rs 4 crore is estimated to be spent for the proposed project which will be set up under the World Bank funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP).
"We have identified around 4 acres of government land in the village and applied to the district administration to take advance possession," Mishra said.
The project would commence after it gets clearance from the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
Besides the interpretation centre, ten cottages and a food park is also proposed to be set up in the eco-tourism complex.