Microchips put on rescued Olive Ridley Turtles near Mumbai
Two Olive Ridley Turtles were fitted with microchips by the Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Association (WCAWA) at Dahanu and released in the Arabian Sea on Friday .
The move is part of a long-term plan to fit around 60 turtles in the custody of WCAWA with microchips in order to monitor their movements.
Dhawal Kansara, member of WCAWA, said, “We consulted Dr Dinesh Vinherkar, our vet, at the rescue centre. He got the rice bran-shaped microchips that were fitted on the turtles. After obtaining permission from Nanasaheb Ladkat, deputy forest officer, whose office is the coordinating agency of the rescue centre for turtles at Dahanu, we released the two turtles in the sea.”
The microchips were fitted near the turtles’ legs. Kansara said if they got any injured or stranded turtles in future, they would be able to check the turtle by scanning the pre-defined area to ascertain if it is microchipped.
Vinherkar said, “The turtles now carry a unique identification number encoded in the microchip. This may be the first attempt to microchip sea turtles.”
Explaining the benefits of microchipping the turtles, Kansara said from now on, as soon as a turtle gets rescued they would examine it. “We will insert microchips with unique numbers at the same spot for all rescued turtles, making it easy to establish standard microchip scan area for all turtles released from WCAWA Dahanu Forest division centre”.
Kansara said in case they got any injured or stranded turtles in the future, they would be able to check the turtle by scanning the pre-defined area to ascertain if it is microchipped. “If we find the microchip and its unique identification number during scanning and if the number matches with those in our records, it will give us information about when it was last rescued and what was its condition before and after release,” he added.
Kansara said he hoped that apart from developing a unique identity for turtles rescued by WCAWA, Dahanu, this move will also help in creating data on injured Olive Ridley turtles that were recovered and released in Maharashtra.
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