ZSI resumes tagging of Olive Ridley Turtles to study their migration path
kolkata: In a bid to identify the migration path and places visited by Olive Ridley Turtles after congregation and nesting, scientists at the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have resumed tagging these reptiles at Rushikulya rookery along Odisha coast. The mass congregation of these turtles has been found to be very encouraging along Rushikulya coast with mass nesting picking up after Cyclone Jawad crossed near the coast.
According to sources, more than 157 turtles have already been tagged by ZSI scientists in association with the Forest and Environment wing of Odisha along the Rushikulya coast.
The exercise was undertaken in Odisha in January 2021 after a span of about 25 years and 1,556 turtles were tagged.The exercise is to be carried out at two other mass nesting sites- Gahirmatha and Devi River mouth too. "Olive Ridley Turtles come in the range of 3 to 4 lakh to the mass nesting sites usually in the month of November and stay there till April or early May. The tagging exercise will help us understand whether they keep coming to one nesting site for laying eggs and also the number of sites they visit over the years. It further helps in studying the migratory route and areas of foraging," Dr, Basudev Tripathy, Scientist ZSI said.Olive Ridley Turtles are known to migrate over thousand kilometres between their nesting and feeding grounds all over the world.Metal tags are affixed to the turtles are non-corrosive and they do not harm their body. The metal can be removed later. The tags are uniquely numbered containing details such as name of organisation, country-code and email address. "When researchers in other countries will come across the tagged turtles, they would inform us mentioning their location in longitude and latitude . It would help us know their location," Tripathy added.
Researchers have set a target of tagging 30,000 turtles over a period of 10 years. Last year, the turtles did not come for mass nesting to Rushikulya, however in Gahirmatha, 1,000 turtles were tagged last year.