Berhampur: Two college students are on a cycle expedition in the villages along the coastal districts of Odisha to create awareness of protection of Olive ridley turtles.
Dillip Kumar Biswal and Soumyaranjan Biswal of Nimapda Autonomous College in Puri district reached Berhampur town in Ganjam district yesterday after cycling around 250 km from Konark.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Berhampur Ashish Kumar Behera felicitated the duo before they started paddling towards the river Rushikuklya mouth, one of the major mass nesting spot of the Olive ridley turtles near Ganjam town.
Hailing the effort of the two students, the DFO said their expedition was significant as a record number of over 4.45 lakh Olive ridley turtles laid eggs this time in the Rushikulya river mouth
“We have decided to set off in a cycle expedition to create awareness of the protection of the Olive ridley as the visit of the creatures are dwindling in the Devi river mouth for last few years,” said Dillip.
Several factors like the operation of the mechanised fishing trawlers, pollution on the nesting sites, non-use of turtle protective devices in the boats cause disturbances on their mass nesting, they said.
“During interaction with the people, school and college students, we advocated protection of Olive ridley turtles. They are our guests and we should give all protection to them”, they added
The two students started their journey on March 7 from Konark in Puri district with an aim to reach at Gahiramatha, the major nesting site of the turtles in Kendrapada district on March 14while covering the coastal areas of Puri, Chilika, Gopalpur, Rushikulya river mouth, Satakosia, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Siali and Paradip.
Over 10 lakh Olive ridley turtles visit the major mass nesting sites in Odisha cost, including the river Rushikulya mouth, the Gahiramatha and the Devi river mouth, near Astaranga in Puri district.