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Govt starts putting tags on endangered Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha

Tagging of Olive Ridley turtles has resumed to keep tab on the movement of the creatures

The tagging of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles has started again at the Rushikulya rookery in Odisha to enable scientists to chart their movements and also know the areas they visit in order to protect the species and their habitats.

The tagging exercise was undertaken at three mass nesting areas of the Olive Ridley turtle – Devi river mouth, Rushikulya and Gahirmatha. On Wednesday, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) did the exercise in association with the Odisha Forest and Environment Department and 22 turtles – 11 males and 11 females were tagged.

The tags made of metal are non-corrosive and don’t harm the body of the creature and can be removed any time. Numbered uniquely, it has details including the organisation’s name, country-code and email address. Dr. Anil Mohapatra sharing the details with The Hindu said: “If researchers in other countries come across the tagged turtles, they would email their location in longitude and latitude to us. It would help us know their location. There is an established network working on turtles.”

Highlighting the benefits of the tagging, Mohapatra stated: “We are studying the path taken by turtles in the sea, if they keep coming to one nesting site for laying eggs, and the number of sites they visit over the years. Besides, the growth of turtles could be measured during the current study. The study would also reveal the inter-rookery movement of turtles in Odisha. The migration pattern to other countries would be recorded in detail.”

The Olive Ridley are the second smallest species and most abundant of all sea turtles in the world. They are found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The tagging exercise had been earlier done in Odisha in January 2021 after a span of about 25 years and 1,556 turtles had been tagged.

Also read: Odisha to impose 7-month fishing ban to protect Olive Ridley turtles