OVER ONE LAKH OLIVE RIDLEYS ENTER SEA IN ODISHA
21, Apr 2019
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : GS-III Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management (GS3M)
Why in News?
- The eggs that were laid in March began hatching in kalam island off Odisha coast
- The idyllic Kalam Island off the Odisha coast has become lively with lakhs of baby Olive Ridley turtles crawling towards the Bay of Bengal after emerging from eggshells.
- The Odisha Forest and Environment Department said baby turtles had emerged from approximately 1.25 lakh nests
- We are expecting the process to continue for another two days as 4.5 lakh turtles had arrived at beaches under Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary to lay eggs this year.
- We hope millions of baby turtles would make their way into the sea in the next two days,” said Bimal Prasanna Acharya, Divisional Forest Officer of Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) forest Division.
- The unmanned island, located close to the Wheeler’s Island defence test range centre, a
- prohibited territory, is one of the largest rookeries in the world.
- Except forest department officials, no one has had the chance to witness the spectacular sight. After breaking the eggshells, the baby turtles crawled seawards almost immediately without their mothers. Eggs laid by turtles in March were incubated under natural process.
- The olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), 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.
- The Olive Ridley is a small sea turtle, with an adult carapace length averaging 60 to 70 cm.
- Olive Ridley turtles are best known for their behaviour of synchronized nesting in mass numbers, termedarribadas.
- Interestingly, females return to the very same beach from where they first hatched, to lay their eggs. In the Indian Ocean, the majority of olive Ridleys nest in two or three large groups near Gahirmatha.
- The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the olive Ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.
- Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years.
- It is included in Vulnerable category by the IUCN Red list. In In India, it is protected under Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Moreover, trading in its products are banned under CITES.
Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
- Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is a marine wildlife sanctuary located in Odisha.
- It extends from Dhamra River mouth in the north to Mahanadi river mouth in the south. It is very famous for its nesting beach for olive ridley sea turtles.
- It is the one of world’s most important nesting beach for turtles