The tiny cute village of turtles will be ready to welcome tourists from Pune and other cities. So before you go for the Velas beach “Turtle Festival Tour”, here are some interesting facts about those wonderful animals, to take you closer to their life:
Velas Turtle Festival is celebrated on Velas beach in Maharashtra. This festival is held from March to May.
The Olive Ridley turtles are sea turtles that are found in warm tropical ocean currents of the Indian and Pacific oceans.
The turtles visiting Velas beach weight around 50-60 kg and can be more than 2-3 feet in length. Olive green in colour, these turtles have oar-like limbs and curiously they have a nail each on the front limbs.
While experiencing the Velas Turtle Festival, one would find these turtles as delicate animals, but their food conveys otherwise, consisting of hard gastropods, animals with shells, and even jellyfish!
Not many of those who are planning for their Velas Turtle Festival booking would know that the baby turtles are sighted only during a specific time of year.
Even though they fall in the medium-sized sea turtles, these turtles are sighted at Velas beach every year usually during winters. They travel thousands of kilometres in the ocean to reach back to their breeding site.
It’s interesting to know that only female turtles will come back to the breeding site for laying their eggs. Male turtles will never come back to the beach again.
Female turtles will visit the shore during the late evening, make a pit on the sandy beach, lay the eggs in the pit, cover it up with their fins and then leave back to sea, to never come back.
The life of a turtle is so tough that no baby turtle ever receives any kind of parental love and care like human beings. Poor turtles do not even see their parents in their lifetime.
The duration between breeding seasons for these turtles can be nearly 2 years. Hence, the new flock arrives every year at Velas.
These turtles are considered to be endangered species of marine turtles. There are various reasons like consumption of their eggs voraciously around the coastal countries in the Asia Pacific region, destruction of natural habitats, and turtle slaughter for leather and oils, which have contributed to the Olive Ridley Turtles becoming endangered.
NGOs like Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, which co-organizes turtle festival Maharashtra, works towards spreading awareness about this and it’s the need of the hour as only 1 turtle out of 100 will reach its adulthood after surviving various hurdles of life.