Tagged Olive Ridley turtles come back for nesting in Odisha

Kendrapara: Around 3,35,099 turtles have already laid eggs on the Gahiramatha Beach, world’s largest rookery of sea turtles since February 22 night, said the Gahirmatha Forest Range Officer.

“We are hopeful of convergence of more turtles on the Gahirmatha Beach for mass nesting as a large congregation of turtles are still being sighted in mid sea,” he said.

The number of turtles arriving at the odisha coast was much lower last year.

Before the tagging was undertaken, little was known regarding movement of these animals, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

Wildlife Institute of India in a joint endeavour with forest department in past years had tagged over 25,000 female turtles.

Tagging is most often conducted to obtain information on reproductive biology, movements and growth rates.

The tagging helps in studying the turtle’s migratory route and areas of foraging, said forest officials.

Sea turtles throughout the world are known to migrate thousands of kilometers between their nesting beaches and feeding grounds.

Apart from tagging turtles to study their itinerant behaviour, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in 2007 had experimented by fitting four turtles with Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTTs) with online monitoring of migratory routes.

The PTT fitted turtles were found to have migrated south towards Sri Lanka.

However, the experiment had failed as four PTT-fitted turtles had stopped transmitting within two to four months, either due to some technical problems or mortality, said forest officials.