ZSI starts tagging Olive Ridley turtles at Odisha's Gahirmatha to track migration path

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Kendrapara (Odisha), Mar 20 (PTI) The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in collaboration with the Odisha forest department has started tagging endangered Olive Ridley turtles on the Gahirmatha coast in Kendrapara district to track their migration path, officials said on Saturday.

More than 1,000 turtles have so far been fitted with metallic flipper tags, and the exercise is being conducted to obtain information about the reproductive biology of the marine species, they said.

'The ZSI has taken up the project with the state forest department and started tagging the turtles at the Gahirmatha nesting site last week. We have planned to attach the tags to 30,000 Olive Ridleys,' Rajnagar divisional forest officer Bikash Chandra Dash said.

Earlier in January, the sea turtles were tagged at the mouth of Rushikulya river, another mass nesting site of the marine species, in the state.

The Wildlife Institute of India had tagged the turtles in 1997 and 2011 on the Gahirmatha coast, he said.

'Some of Olive Ridley sea turtles which were tagged at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara more than a decade ago, returned to the site to lay eggs. They are known to migrate over thousands of kilometres between their nesting beaches and feeding grounds. The tagging helps us in studying their migratory routes and areas of foraging,' a ZSI official said.

The Olive Ridley turtles turn up in millions for mass nesting along the Odisha coast every year.

Around 3 lakh turtles have turned up for their annual sojourn of mass nesting at Gahirmatha beach under the Bhitarkanika National Park this year, the forest official said. PTI COR AAM SBN BDC BDC