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| Last Updated:: 20/03/2019

Tagged Oliver Ridleys return to Gahirmatha after a decade








Around 40 Olive Ridley Sea turtles which were tagged at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha’s Kendrapara district more than a decade ago recently returned to the sanctuary to lay eggs.



This proves that tagged female turtles are finding their way to Gahirmatha, where they were born more than a decade ago. Around 4.6 lakh turtles have already laid eggs at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary — known as the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles — while their mass nesting started on February 27, 2019.



The state forest department in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, fitted tags on the flippers between 1998 and 2010. Sea turtles are also tagged to recognise individuals or cohorts for research purposes. Tagging is most often done to obtain information on their reproductive biology, movements and growth rates.



Sea turtles throughout the world are known to migrate thousands of kilometres between their nesting beaches and feeding grounds. The tagging helps researchers study the turtle's migratory route and areas of foraging. Tagging data also shows how the turtles navigate waters across different areas.



“There was a lack of information about turtles after they leave the coast of Odisha. Hence, there was a need for tagging and satellite telemetry to track their movements and enhance the protection of their habitats.



Every year, as the mass nesting takes place, the state government imposes a ban on fishing activities near the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary between November 1 and May 31 to protect the turtles.