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PTI

The Zoological Survey of India in collaboration with the Wildlife wing of Odisha's Forest Department has initiated a tagging programme of Olive Ridley sea turtles, a top ZSI official said on Thursday.

ZSI Director Dr Dhriti Banerjee said that the tagging programme has been taken for conservation of this rare species of turtle and ZSI plans to continue the programme as part of the long-term monitoring of the species, at least for the next 10 years, through annual data collections, tagging and tag recaptures.

Scientist and Officer-in-Charge, Estuarine Biology Regional centre, ZSI, Dr Anil Mohapatra said the present study adopted 'mark recapture' method to identify the nesting habitats, foraging habitats and post-mating migration, post-nesting migration, reproductive longevity and growth of the Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The tagging programme by ZSI along the Odisha coast was initiated from January 2021 and a total of 8,450 turtles were tagged, of which 188 were mating pairs, 8,252 females, 198 male turtles, Mohapatra said.

The main objective of the study is to check the migration of Olive Ridley sea turtles by monitoring along the Odisha coast through effective flipper tagging, both on the beaches as well as offshore waters of Odisha coast.

Besides, such an initiative helps to enumerate the environmental factors responsible for the Olive Ridley sea turtle breeding and developing suitable conservation and management plans for Olive Ridley sea turtles of Odisha Coast through monitoring of the population, Banerjee said.

Along with tagging, the offshore monitoring of the olive ridleys, onshore beach monitoring and nesting enumeration was carried out along the mass nesting rookeries of Odisha coast, she said.

This apart, night hour patrolling along the beaches was carried out to survey the nesting turtles and tag recapture.

The sea turtle populations are extremely fragile and face a range of threats. Considering the vulnerable status of the species, the study will also serve as a foundation for long-term conservation and management plans for the olive ridley turtles of Odisha.

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