Saturday, 28 March 2015

Tagged sea turtles return to Gahiramatha for nesting (Olive Ridleys) - via Herp Digest

Ashis Senapati,The Times of India 3/16/15

KENDRAPADA: A dozen Olive Ridley sea turtles, which were earlier tagged, have returned to Gahiramatha, considered the world's largest rookery of the creatures, in Kendrapada district for laying eggs this year.

Around two lakh turtles have reached the beach for mass nesting.

The forest department in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, fitted tags on flippers of turtles between 1998 and 2010.

"We have spotted turtles with metallic flipper tags. The recovered tags are marked 'Gahiramatha', 'WII' and a number. This proves female turtles return to the same beach where they had laid eggs," said principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) S S Srivastav.

"The tagging helps us in studying the turtle's migratory route and areas of foraging," added the forest officer.

Sea turtles are also tagged to obtain information on their reproductive biology, movements and growth rate, said a forest officer.

Tagging and satellite telemetry to track their movements help us improve mass nesting sites and augment protection measures, the officer added.

In April 2001, for the first time, the forest department and WII along with turtle biologist Jack Frazier fitted platform transmitter terminals on four turtles at the Devi beach, facilitating online monitoring of migratory routes.

All four turtles stopped transmitting data within four months either due to technical snags or trawler-related mortalities, said turtle biologist and former wildlife scientist of WII B C Chaudhury.

In 2007, 30 turtles were fitted with PTTs by WII scientists with the help of forest department at Rushikulya beach, Devi beach and Gahiramatha, added Chaudhury.

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