Olive Ridley turtles
#GS3 #Biodiversity ##Conservation
Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles began at Odisha’s Rushikulya rookery, a major nesting site of these marine turtles.
Thousands of hatchlings came out of the nests buried in sand to crawl towards the sea to start their long journey. On an average 80 to 100 turtles hatch from each nest.
Olive Ridley Turtles
- The olive ridley sea turtle also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They can also be found in warm waters of Atlantic ocean.
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable.
- They are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
- 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.
- Growing to about 2 feet in length, and 50 kg in weight, the Olive ridley gets its name from its olive colored carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.
- They lay their eggs in conical nests about one and a half feet deep which they laboriously dig with their hind flippers. The coast of Orissa in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica
- Olive-ridleys face serious threats across their migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches, due to human activities such as turtle unfriendly fishing practices, development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, and tourist centres.
- Though international trade in these turtles and their products is banned under CITES Appendix I, they are still extensively poached for their meat, shell and leather, and their eggs, though illegal to harvest, have a significantly large market around the coastal regions.
- However, the most severe threat they face is the accidental killing of adult turtles through entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets due to uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches.
- To reduce accidental killing in India, the Orissa government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net specially designed with an exit cover which allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.