(TMU) – Stunning video from India has emerged that shows the “magical” moment when massive amounts of rare baby sea turtles crawled out to sea for the very first time after about 20 million eggs hatched.
In a spectacular clip showing the event, masses of olive ridley sea turtles hatchlings can be seen making their way across a deserted beach along the coast of the eastern state of Odisha.
The video was shared to Twitter by an Indian Forest Officer, Susanta Nanda, who wrote:
“A sight that casts magical spell year after year. Nearly 2 crore plus [20 million] olive ridley hatchlings have emerged & made their way to sea from half of about 4 lakh [400,000] nesting at Nasi-2 islands, Gahirmatha rookery Odisha. The spectacle continues. Early morning video.”
A sight that casts magical spell year after year👍
Nearly 2 crore plus olive Ridley hatchlings have emerged & made their way to sea from half of about 4 lakh nesting at Nasi-2 islands, Gahirmatha rookery Odisha.
The spectacle continues. Early morning video. pic.twitter.com/C0IKTWNCko
— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) May 8, 2020
Despite being the most abundant of all sea turtles, the global Olive Ridley population remains vulnerable worldwide. This is mainly due to the fact that they are only able to nest in a very small number of locations. As a result, any disturbance to even a single beach where they nest – be it through direct human intervention, the presence of non-native species, or global events such as rising sea levels – could have massive repercussions for the entire species, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The conservationist group wrote:
“Sea turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds.”
In March, roughly 475,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles came ashore to a roughly 3.75-mile (6-km) Rushikulya beach to dig nests and lay eggs. During one week alone, over 250,000 mother turtles nested during daylight hours.
Local district forest officer Amlan Nayak told Mongabay-India:
“The last time we saw day time nesting of olive ridleys along this site was in 2013.
“Usually, they come on to the beach for nesting only during the night. This March was special for us as we saw the species visiting the site at night and even during the day, in equally good numbers.”
At the time, local authorities estimated that about 60 million eggs would be laid this year in total.
Typically, the mass nesting attracted hordes of visitors eager to watch the miraculous event, with thronging crowds often jostling with forest officers who struggled to keep them at bay. However, the coronavirus lockdown has prevented any such disturbance of this year’s mass nesting, reported the Hindu, allowing the 25 forest guards and researchers to focus on guarding the turtles.
Yet in the absence of humans, crows and jackals also swoop in to attack the turtles.
S.N. Patro, the president of Orissa Environment Society, disputes whether the lockdown had any impact on the nesting activities of the Olive Ridley sea turtles. Patro said:
“What the lockdown can do is that it can reduce the casualties of the sea turtles or the damages their eggs undergo in normal days. However, in the absence of human movements, pest attacks and attacks from other animals can increase as well.”
“They [turtles] are quite confident. The village communities in Rushikulya have known of arribadas [the Spanish word for ‘arrival’ that refers to the mass nesting events] of olive ridley turtles since time immemorial.”
— Harikrishnan S (@_harikrishnan_s) March 26, 2020
Regrettably, hundreds of baby turtles in Odisha perished during their first crawl out to sea after they were caught in fishing nets strewn along the coastline, reports Times of India.
Meanwhile, about 1,000 miles away on the southwestern coast of India in the state of Goa, thousands of other Olive Ridley hatchlings could be seen emerging from their nests in video shared last week by local Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
The Goa chief minister wrote:
“Amazing wonders of nature! Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings emerging out from the last nest at Morjim. Along with Morjim, Mandrem, Agonda, and Galgibagh are important beaches in Goa which attracts turtle for nesting.”
Amazing wonders of nature! Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings emerging out from the last nest at Morjim. Along with Morjim, Mandrem, Agonda and Galgibagh are important beaches in Goa which attracts turtle for nesting. pic.twitter.com/UjuoIC9hP4
— Dr. Pramod Sawant (@DrPramodPSawant) May 12, 2020
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.