Olive Ridley turtles sprang a surprise this season, as they waded onto the four turtle nesting sites in Morjim, Agonda and Galgibaga more often than in the past few years.
Forest officials and wildlife enthusiasts could not contain their delight, as a maximum number of nesting of 13 was reported on the crowded Agonda beach, six on the more deserted Galgibaga beach and an equal number on Morjim beach. They shied away from Mandrem beach for a second consecutive year.
Turtle conservation was first pioneered in Morjim by NGOs and forest department officials in the mid-1990s.
“The number of nestings and hatchings this season, despite the visitors disturbance, on Agonda beach is a good sign,” said Cotigao wildlife sanctuary, range forest officer, Vishwanath Pingulkar.
The total number of eggs laid at Agonda was 1,208 (of 12 nests) while 1,009 hatchlings emerged. One nest is yet to hatch. In Galgibaga, 614 eggs were laid and 496 baby turtles crawled back to sea, yielding the best figures in three to four years. “This showed that the flippered visitors have found ways to brave hostile conditions,” an official said.
In Morjim, a total of 641 eggs were laid and 378 hatchlings emerged. The hatchlings usually emerge after sunset or before sunrise, out of fear of the scorchingly hot sand.