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Massive effort to conserve Olive Ridleys
May 06, 2016

  • Wildlife authorities have launched a massive exercise to conserve Olive Ridley turtles in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary

  • An unprecedented number of over 10,500 eggs of the turtles have been collected since early March. They are being conserved in the rookeries set up within the KWS limits.

  • The officials, in collaboration with the local communities, have documented collection of 4,259 eggs near the Sangameswaram nesting point, 3,847 eggs near the lighthouse, and 2,465 eggs near Jinkapalem.

What are Olive Ridley Turtles

  • The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans

Details about these:

  • They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.

  • Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years, and the species is recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red list

  • Olive ridley gets its name from its olive colored carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.

  • Males and females grow to the same size; however, females have a slightly more rounded carapace as compared to the male.

  • They are carnivores, and feed mainly on jellyfish, shrimp, snails, crabs, molluscs and a variety of fish and their eggs.

  • These turtles spend their entire lives in the ocean, and migrate thousands of kilometers between feeding and mating grounds in the course of a year

  • They lay their eggs in conical nests about one and a half feet deep which they laboriously dig with their hind flippers.

  • The coast of Orissa in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.

Threat to these:

Olive-ridleys face serious threats across their migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches, due to:

  • Human activities such as turtle unfriendly fishing practices

  • Development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports,

  • Tourist centres.

Though international trade in these turtles and their products is banned under CITES Appendix I, they are still extensively poached for their meat, shell and leather, and their eggs, though illegal to harvest, have a significantly large market around the coastal regions. However, the most severe threat they face is the accidental killing of adult turtles through entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets due to uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches.

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