After 20 years, the endangered Olive Ridley turtles decided to make Mumbai’s Versova beach a nesting site again, the Hindustan Times reported.
While 80 hatchlings were seen making their way into the sea on Thursday morning, forest officers and locals found several hatched Olive Ridley turtle egg shells at the beach on Friday morning, confirming that the beach had become a nesting site.
“There is no further cause for doubt about the authenticity of this wonderful event,” N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell, told the Hindustan Times. “We can confirm that Versova is a turtle nesting site as we have uncovered the egg shells. It is a truly inspiring discovery.”
Environmentalists, activists and residents have credited a massive beach clean-up drive that began in 2015 for the turtles coming to Mumbai’s shores.
Mumbai lawyer and environmentalist Afroz Shah, who had started the beach clean-up drive, was at the beach when the hatchlings were spotted. “The turtles nested and hatched on our beach,” Shah said, adding that the constant cleaning of the beach helped marine species, PTI reported.
“It was a delightful sight to see our clean-up efforts bear fruits, as turtles have made their home at Versova beach, probably the only beach in Mumbai where they are currently present,” he told the Hindustan Times.
The turtles are often spotted in other, Maharashtra beaches such as Velas, Anjarle, Harihareshwar, Maral and Diveagar. There have been no such reports from Mumbai for two decades, reports said.