Olive Ridleys arrive in large numbers at Odisha coast

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Olive Ridley turtles have kept their date with Gahirmatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, known as world’s largest rookery of this endangered species, arriving just offshore for mating in large numbers.

The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting only in warmer waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. 

  • These turtles, along with their cousin the Kemps ridley turtle, are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years, and the species is recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red list.

Facts about Olive Ridley turtles:

  • The Olive Ridley turtles live in the Indian Ocean, but they can’t mate there.
  • They have to come all the way to the Bay of Bengal by travelling thousands of kilometres to mate and to lay eggs.
  • Interestingly, the male turtles won’t reach the sandy stretch, but wait for their mates to return to the waters. After laying eggs, both male and female turtles return to their native ocean.
  • After laying the eggs in the sandy stretches, they begin their return journey. Hatching takes place naturally and the baby turtles too swim back to the Indian Ocean by June every year.
  • The ‘Homing’ characteristics of the Ridley sea turtles make them more prone to mass casualty.

Conservation Facts:

  • WWF-India, along with the fishermen community, has been involved in protecting the Olive ridley rookery at the mass nesting site at Rushikulaya, in Orissa, by fencing off the nesting area and patrolling it till hatching and ensuring a safe passage for the hatchlings to the sea.
  • Olive Ridley sea turtle has found place in Schedule – I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (amended 1991).
  • The sea turtles are protected under the ‘Migratory Species Convention’ and CITES (Convention of International Trade on Wildlife Flora and Fauna).
  • India is a signatory nation to all these conventions.

Source: TH & Wiki