Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary in Odisha is known for its ecological significance and as a popular tourist destination. It is a protected area for marine wildlife, particularly the Olive Ridley Turtles, recognized as the largest nesting beach for these turtles in the world. Mass Nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles Every year, the Olive Ridley Turtles migrate to the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary for mass nesting or arribada. This year, the mass nesting started on the night of March 9, 2023, which is earlier than the previous year. Over the last four days, 503,719 turtles have laid eggs on the beaches of the sanctuary. This number is higher than last year’s season, when 501,157 turtles laid eggs between March 25-28, 2022.
Significance of Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is located on the coast of Odisha, spanning from the Dhamra River mouth to the Brahmani River mouth. It is home to a variety of marine species, including dolphins, sea snakes, and horseshoe crabs. The sanctuary is known for its ecological significance, particularly as the largest nesting beach for Olive Ridley Turtles in the world.
Conservation Efforts for Olive Ridley Turtles
The Olive Ridley Turtles are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They face various threats, including human activities such as coastal development, poaching, and fishing practices. To protect the turtles and their habitat, the Indian government has taken several initiatives, including the establishment of marine sanctuaries and stricter laws against poaching and illegal fishing practices.
Tourism and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is a popular tourist destination, attracting tourists from all over the world. It offers various activities, such as trekking, bird watching, and boat rides. However, to protect the fragile ecosystem of the sanctuary, the government has put in place regulations to control tourism activities, including the number of tourists allowed in the sanctuary at a time.
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