New app to help in Olive Ridley conservation

Prelims level : Animal Species Mains level : GS - III
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Students of a private engineering college have come out with a mobile application that can come in handy for the Forest Department to pool in data for conservation of olive ridley turtles and their eggs.

Known as Turtify, the application has been created by Harish Anantharaman and Abdullah Mubarak,

We went for turtle walk and spoke to members of Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) and forest officials to get an idea of what they need.

Based on the inputs given by the Forest Department, the students designed the mobile application to help conservationists, who take part in turtle walks.

Upon spotting nest on the shore during turtle walks, the conservationist take the eggs, measure details such as the cavity width of the nest, distance between the surface and eggs, neck width of the nest among other details.

Subsequently, the details of every nest, eggs translocated, hatched, hatchlings released are recorded manually. However, this data is not stored in an online repository. Due to this, sharing data to other teams and to the Forest Department becomes a huge task apart from knowing exact location of where the nest was spotted. By using the Turtify app, all the teams can enter their relevant data onto the application. When a nest is being reported, the exact location of the user is arrived upon and after this they can proceed to fill in the details of the nest.

Similarly, the number of hatchlings released and their location can also be recorded. The user can also provide pictures of the nest, all of which is uploaded onto a cloud repository. Once data is fed, other users of the app who belong to the same organisation would receive a push notification on their phones.

Data safety

The Turtify app implements high standards of encryption to make data storage as secure as possible. Users can report injured or even dead turtles that they come across. The app also provides general information about the turtle species and a brief about the Turtle walks that take place in Chennai. The students gave a presentation about the application last year which is yet to be taken up by the Forest Department

Olive Ridley Turtles

  • Olive Ridley turtle is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtle found in the world.
  • It gets its name from its olive coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.
  • It is found in warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans.
  • It spends entire lives in the ocean and migrates thousands of kilometres between feeding and mating grounds in the course of a year.
  • It is classified  as Vulnerable  in IUCN Red List and is listed in Appendix I of CITES
  • Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years.
  • Conservation of Olive Ridley turtles is done in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS), Andhra Pradesh.
  • Members of the Yanadi tribe are directly involved in the conservation bid.
  • They are best known for their behaviour of synchronized nesting in mass numbers.
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