Gahirmatha Sanctuary

The Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is the largest breeding place of the turtles. Situated in the Kendrapara District of Orissa, it is also the home of the world famous Olive Ridley sea turtles. Gahirmatha is also a world heritage site. Spread over an area of 1435 sq km, Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary has been a preferred place for the Olive Ridley sea turtles that travel across oceans from as far as the south pacific to breed on the sautéed sands of Gahirmatha. This sanctuary is a restricted area where as per provision of Wildlife Act. These animals are allowed to propagate, perpetuate and flourish in this restricted area irrespective of their direct economic concern for human beings. Special arrangements were made to ensure their protection as the turtles were preyed upon by the local folk many years. The Gahirmatha is unique because it is the only mass nesting site for Olive-ridley sea turtles in the whole world. This area too is a potential breeding and feeding ground for many marine fishes. The sea turtle Arribada, in a clear moonlit winter night, big turtles crawling out of deep sea in hundred and thousands, puffing and laboring, selecting a site, digging a hole in the sand with hind flippers, laying nearly 200 eggs, covering and compacting by their own body weight, sweeping out of all traces and crawling back to sea, all within 45 minutes, is an event to be seen to be believed. The high abundance of fish as evidenced. The fauna in Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is also quite remarkable. The most commonly found species include Wild Boar, Barking deer, Bear, Leopard, Crocodile, Jungle Fowl, Samber, Hyaena, Wild Dog, Chinkara, Four-horned antelope, Wildbore, Sloth Bear, Blue Bull, etc.

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