Millions Of Baby Turtles Head To Ocean On Vacant Beach

Millions of olive ridley sea turtles have been hatching in recent weeks on the beaches of northeastern India. A video posted on May 8 showed hatchlings scurrying across the sand down to the waves at the mass nesting site of Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Odisha, India.

The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for olive ridley sea turtles, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica. After about 45-65 days, the eggs begin to hatch, and these beaches are swamped with crawling hatchlings, making their first trek towards the vast ocean. 

According to WWF India, only about one in 1000 olive ridley hatchlings that enter the sea waters survive to reach adulthood.

Fun fact: Female olive ridley turtles return to the same exact beach from where they first hatched to lay their eggs.

During this nesting, up to 600,000 and more females emerge from the waters over a period of five to seven days. They lay their eggs in conical nests about one and a half feet deep which they dig with their hind flippers.

These recent nesting activities coincide with the lockdowns in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19. With no tourists flocking the beaches to witness the phenomenon, there has been little to no human interference to the nesting site. Experts and Indian government officials, however, have denied any impact that the lockdown has on the sea turtles' nesting activities.

“I do not think the lockdown period can have any impact on the nesting activities of the olive ridley turtles. But what the lockdown can do is that it can reduce the casualties of the sea turtles or the damages their eggs undergo in normal days. However, in the absence of human movements, pest attacks and attacks from other animals, can increase as well,” said S.N. Patro, an environmentalist from Bhubaneswar and the president of Orissa Environment Society.

Have you ever witnessed baby turtles swimming out to sea? Tell us about it in the comments and be sure to pass this fascinating video to your friends and loved ones.