Every year, the Indian Coast Guard’s “Operation Olivia”, initiated in the early 1980s, helps protect Olive Ridley turtles as they congregate along the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting.
About Operation Olivia
- For optimal results, the Operation Olivia conducts round-the-clock surveillance from November till May utilising Coast Guard assets such as fast patrol vessels, air cushion vessels, interceptor craft and Dornier aircraft to enforce laws near the rookeries.
About Olive Ridley
- Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
- Protection Status:
- IUCN Red List : Vulnerable
- All five species of sea turtles found in India are included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
- CITES: Appendix I prohibits trade in turtle products by signatory countries.
- Odisha has also formulated laws for protecting Olive Ridley turtles, and the Orissa Marine Fisheries Act empowers the Coast Guard as one of its enforcement agencies.
- Odisha coast has the world’s largest known rookery of olive ridley sea turtle. Apart from Gahirmatha rookery, two other masses are there where nesting beaches have been located which are at the mouth of rivers Rushikulya and Devi.
- Gahirmatha is the only marine wildlife sanctuary of Odisha.
- The Olive Ridley has one of the most extraordinary nesting habits in the natural world, including mass nesting called arribadas.
- The 480-km-long Odisha coast has three arribada beaches at Gahirmatha, the mouth of the Devi river, and in Rushikulya, where about 1 lakh nests are found annually.
- More recently, a new mass nesting site has been discovered in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with more than 5,000 nests reported in a season, according to the U.S.’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.
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