ZSI & Odisha govt to tag Olive Ridley turtles near Rushikulya river mouth

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Berhampur (Odisha), Jan 12 (PTI) In a bid to track the migratory pattern of the endangered Olive ridley turtles, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in collaboration with Odisha government on Tuesday launched a drive to tag the turtles near the Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district, an official said.

The tag of the inconel metal is uniquely numbered and has details such as the name of the organization and email.

'This will help in finding the extent of travel and location of the turtles after congregation and nesting in the beach for further research on the behaviour of the Olive ridley,' said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Berhampur, Amlan Nayak.

On the first day of the drive of tagging, they have tagged at least six turtles, including four females and two males, he said. Besides DFO, turtle expert Basudev Tripathy, officer-in charge of Estuarine Biology Research Center (EBRC), Regional Centre of ZSI, Gopalpur Anil Mohapatra participated in the tagging programme.

The exercise to tag the Olive ridley turtle was started in the state after a gap of about 25 years. Previously it had been conducted during 1994-95 and around 8,000 turtles were tagged. This time, the target is to tag around 30,000 turtles, said the DFO.

The process of the tagging will be continued and it will be expedited during the time of the mass nesting, when the turtles climb the sandy beach, he said.

This will provide insights into the turtles' migratory patterns and routes, their behaviour at sea, where their marine habitats are located and how turtles use the different habitats, said an expert.

The scientists of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had fitted satellite transmitters and platform transmitter terminals (PTT) on at least 30 turtles last year in three mass nesting sites of the olive ridleys in different sites. The WII had also conducted a study of the migrant pattern of the Olive ridleys in 2007-10.

Lakhs of Olive Ridley turtles congregate for mass nesting along the Odisha coast, particularly at the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, Rushikulya river mouth and Devi river mouth every year. PTI COR SKN RG RG