5 March 2023.
Olive Ridley turtles are a globally recognized species for their synchronized nesting behavior, also known as arribadas. This endangered species is primarily found in the warm and tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are the second-smallest and most abundant sea turtle species in the world. However, despite their abundance, Olive Ridley turtles are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to the increasing threat to their habitats.
Mating and Breeding Season
The mating and breeding season for Olive Ridley turtles occurs during the winter season, between November to May. In order to protect the turtles, fishing activities inside the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and 20 km off the shore are banned during this period. This ban is enforced under the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982 and Orissa Marine Fishing Rules, 1983.
Arribada in February
The mass nesting of Olive Ridley turtles, also known as arribada, happened in February this year – a month earlier than the previous year’s nesting season. Experts suggest that suitable climatic and beach conditions such as the softness of the sand and more space on the beach could be the reasons for the early nesting. The Odisha government imposed a ban on fishing activities on the beach to protect the turtles during this period.
The Odisha government has taken several initiatives to protect Olive Ridley turtles. The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary has been established as a protected area to ensure the conservation of the endangered species. Fishing activities are strictly prohibited in this area, and the government has implemented measures to monitor and control illegal fishing activities. The Odisha Forest and Environment Department have also initiated programs to promote awareness among local communities about the importance of protecting Olive Ridley turtles. These programs involve educating the communities about the significance of the turtle population and the need to conserve their habitats. The government has also set up rescue centers to care for injured turtles and hatchlings that are washed ashore