Berhampur: The much-awaited mass nesting of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles have commenced at Rushikulya on Wednesday.

Over 2,000 Olive Ridley turtles had laid eggs in the sandy beach, A.K. Jena DFO, Berhampur, said.

Adding more Mr. Jena said, the entire area near Rushikulya river mouth was divided into 30 sectors, with forest personnel and local volunteers deployed in each sector for counting the turtles.

It is noteworthy to mention that over half a million turtles arrive and congregate in the shallow coastal waters of the Bay of Bengal from October to November and nest from December to March. Most hatchlings emerge by May.

Several research scholars from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) also throng to the nesting site to witness the unique phenomenon.

The State also has two other turtles’ nesting sites; Gahirmatha beach in the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Kendrapada district and the Devi river mouth in Puri district. The sea turtles, however, are yet to start mass nesting in these two sites, officials said.

The Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary is one of the world’s largest turtle nesting sites, where most turtles nest every year.