In a first, Olive Ridley turtles fitted with satellite tags

The turtles were tagged with platform transmitter terminals (PTTs), which were fitted with epoxy resin on the carapace (hard shell) of the turtle, and released from Velas and Anjarle beaches
It is currently speculated that the Olive Ridley turtle move toward either the Middle East, Pakistan or towards Sri Lanka after laying eggs in Maharashtra (HT File)
It is currently speculated that the Olive Ridley turtle move toward either the Middle East, Pakistan or towards Sri Lanka after laying eggs in Maharashtra (HT File)
Updated on Jan 25, 2022 08:30 PM IST
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ByPrayag Arora-Desai

Mumbai Researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, along with researchers from the Mangrove Foundation (an autonomous, registered society under the state forest department’s mangrove cell) on Tuesday tagged two female adult Olive Ridley turtles with a satellite device to monitor their migratory path to Maharashtra’s coast every winter, for nesting season.

The turtles were tagged with platform transmitter terminals (PTTs), which were fitted with epoxy resin on the carapace (hard shell) of the turtle, and released from Velas and Anjarle beaches in Ratnagiri district.

While satellite monitoring of Olive Ridleys -- whose conservation status has been assessed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) -- has been previously carried out on India’s east coast, this marks the first time such a study has been commissioned in the west, officials with the forest department’s mangrove cell confirmed. The study received approval in October 2020, during the third governing body meeting of the Mangrove Foundation.

Virendra Tiwari, the additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCFF), mangrove cell, said the study will help in understanding the movement patterns of Olive Ridleys.

“We will know more about where they go after laying their eggs, whether they come back to the shore multiple times in a single nesting season, whether they return the following year and whether they return to the same place,” said Tiwari. “At the moment we can only speculate about these questions, but for the first time we will now generate good data to confirm our theories.”

It is currently speculated that the Ridleys move toward either the Middle East, Pakistan or towards Sri Lanka after laying eggs in Maharashtra.

Tiwari confirmed that a total of five Olive Ridleys will be tagged as part of this study, which is scheduled to last at least 12-14 months.

Olive Ridleys are found in warm tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They travel thousands of kilometres into the ocean and only the females return to the original breeding sites within a minimum of two years. According to the mangrove cell, approximately 600 Olive Ridley turtles find their way to nesting sites across prominent beaches in Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Raigad districts of Maharashtra.

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