ZSI starts tagging olive ridleys to track migration path

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The Zoological Survey of India has started tagging endangered olive ridleys to track their migration path in the off-shore waters of Odisha on Tuesday.

The ZSI scientists took six turtles floating in the deep water of the Bay of Bengal and attached the tags made of aluminum before releasing them back in the sea.

“Tags were attached to six including four female and two male turtles. Basic information such as their weight and length was recorded by the researchers,” said Amlan Nayak, Divisional Forest Officer of Berhampur.

Mr. Nayak said the ZSI would tag 30,000 turtles to know where they come from and go to.

The Rushikulya beach is one of the largest mass nesting sites for sea turtles where 3,23,062 were enumerated last year.

Currently, the turtles are mating in the Bay of Bengal. They would come to the beach to lay eggs in February.

Lakhs of endangered turtles congregate for mass nesting along the Odisha coast including the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, the Rushikulya river mouth and the Devi river mouth annually.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had last conducted a similar study in 2007-2010 to know the migration path. The study was then carried out to know their movement in sea so that the area can be avoided for hydrocarbon exploration.

As per the WII study, the olive ridleys, which had then come to Odisha beaches for mass nesting, were found on the shores of Sri Lanka and even the Andaman islands.

Recently, the State government had requested the WII to conduct a fresh study for identifying the migration path.

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