Olive ridley turtle nesting season in India

This video is called 7 Wonders of India: Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.

From the Times of India:

Olive Ridley turtles arrive in large numbers!

TNN | Apr 11, 2011, 03.05am IST

CHENNAI: Wildife enthusisats and others in the field are excited. Volunteers from the Student Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) have reported finding around 101 nests of Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) on the 8 km stretch from Neelankarai to Urur Kuppam in South Chennai.

Another 82 were located along the 7-km stretch from Srinivasapuram to Napiers’ Bridge which was never considered a turtle-nesting site. “This is something that we never expected. Last year, we found only 30. So the pattern is definitely encouraging,” says SSTCN coordinator Akila.

V Arun of SSTCN is ecstatic. “After a gap of ten years, we have hit the three number figure. In 2000, we found 105 nests on the Neelankarai-Urur Kuppam stretch where 220 had been found in 1990!” he says.

Olive Ridleys, which are perhaps the most important guests to the city, begin arriving along the coast every year from January and are eagerly awaited by wildlife enthusiasts. This year, they appear to have taken an extra liking to the city despite its immense hostility on other fronts, experts said.

Olive Ridleys have become locally extinct in other coastal places in the state like Thoothukudi and Tharamgabadi due to various facets of development’, say conservationists.

In Chennai, with the threat of the proposed elevated expressway along the coast looming large, wildlife enthusiasts’ hopes of saving the species, listed in the Schedule 1 endangered list, have hit a dip. However, 2011 has been encouraging. “Due to the sustained efforts of the last 40 years, turtles still come to Chennai. This year has given that extra reason for us to continue our struggle to save our coasts and our beloved turtles.” says SSTCN volunteer Adhith Swaminathan.

Turtles share the same conservation status as the tiger. “People have failed to give attention to an endangered species that visit their city,” says Naveen, a wildlife photographer.

Turtles, which evolved about 110 million years ago, are said to be the verge of going extinct in the next few years.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2011) — The first research to actively analyze adult male [loggerhead] sea turtles (Caretta caretta) using satellite tracking to link geography with pollutants has revealed the potential risks posed to this threatened species by humanmade chemicals. The research, published April 19 in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, examines the different levels of chemicals in the blood of both migratory and residential turtles: here.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Rescued After Swallowing Four-Inch Fishing Hook (WATCH): here.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2012) — A team of scientists from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands has studied loggerhead turtles’ re-adaptation to the environment. The results show that after a lengthy recovery in rehabilitation centres these animals display changes in behaviour and may not adapt well to being free: here.

Humans Not Solely to Blame for Sea Turtle Declines: here.

8 thoughts on “Olive ridley turtle nesting season in India

  1. From the USA:

    April 20 will mark one year since the Gulf oil spill disaster began – and Congress has yet to require that BP fines from the horrific spill actually go back toward restoring the Gulf of Mexico.

    Of the more than 600 dead sea turtles found in the months after last year’s oil spill, nearly 500 were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles – the rarest and most endangered species of sea turtle in the world. There is still hope for the Kemp’s ridley if we act soon to require that the billions of dollars in fines that BP and other parties must pay go to restoring the sea turtles’ habitat in the Gulf.

    Tell Congress: Dedicate BP Fines to the Gulf!

    Bob Fertik

    National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

    Dear Friend,

    Tell Congress: Dedicate BP Fines to the Gulf!

    Help restore sea turtle habitat in the Gulf

    It was a year ago April 20th that BP’s Deepwater Horizon well exploded, ultimately sending over 200 million gallons of toxic crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

    Under the Clean Water Act, BP must pay fines for each barrel of oil spilled. However, the current law requires that this money be deposited into a trust fund in the federal treasury. Unless Congress takes action soon, the Clean Water Act penalties from the BP oil disaster will not be reinvested in the Gulf.

    Please contact your members of Congress today, and tell them to invest the BP penalty funds into restoring the places and ecosystems affected by the oil spill.

    A few weeks after the spill, a juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtle – the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world – was searching for crabs in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico about 35 miles off the Louisiana coast.

    But sadly, instead of finding something to eat, the turtle found itself covered in crude oil, spewing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well. The little turtle’s eyes, mouth and skin began to burn, and it found itself struggling to breathe.

    This turtle was one of the “lucky ones” – it was found by state wildlife officials, rehabilitated and eventually released back into the Gulf.

    You can help the Kemp’s ridley recover by voicing your support for restoring its habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Unfortunately, many Kemp’s ridleys were not rescued. Of the more than 600 dead sea turtles collected in the months after last April’s oil spill disaster in the Gulf, nearly 500 were Kemp’s ridleys. Many more were lost, their bodies never recovered. There were even reports of sea turtles being burned alive in fires set by BP’s cleanup crews.

    Just last month – almost a year after the spill began – seven times as many turtles were found stranded as would be typical. The cause of these recent standings is still under investigation.

    Tell your senators and representatives to help protect the future of this critically-endangered species.

    The Kemp’s ridleys need Gulf Coast restoration projects to restore their habitat so their populations can recover from the oil disaster.

    Thanks for all you do for wildlife!


    Sue Brown
    Executive Director
    National Wildlife Federation Action Fund


  2. Olive Ridleys’ nesting site under threat

    Sib Kumar Das

    Shifting of river mouth and erosion have changed the terrain of the nesting beach of Olive Ridley turtles near the Rushikulya rookery in Ganjam district of Odisha.

    Forest officials and environmental activists are keeping their fingers crossed over its possible impact on nesting of the turtles this year. Its mating season is almost over and nesting is expected to start from the third week of February.

    In the recent months, the Ruhsikulya river mouth has shifted towards the north. This has completely eroded the long sandy nesting beach near Kantiagada village, where most of the turtles laid their eggs last year. At present, no sandy beach remains in the area and the sea is touching the casuarina forest on the coastline. This shifting of the river mouth has also led to the formation of a 500-metre-long sandbar of more than 200 metres inside the sea.

    Such changes, however, are not new.

    Olive Ridleys are known to change their nesting place. In the past, most turtles used to nest near Purunabandha village towards the south, then they shift to the north, to the coastline near Kantiagada.

    “It remains to be seen what impact this recent change will have on the nesting site of the Olive Ridleys,” said A.K. Jena, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Berhampur.

    The question is whether these endangered turtles would prefer to nest on the recently formed sandbar or not. “Usually Olive Ridleys do not prefer to nest on sand patches that are not connected to the mainland. In 2009, after the shifting of the Rushikulya river mouth, a large sandbar was formed in the area, but Olive Ridleys did not prefer to lay eggs on it,” Mr. Jena said.

    Experts say that before mass nesting takes place, a large numbers of turtles waiting in the sea get information on the state of the coast from some Olive Ridleys that come for sporadic nesting. Based on this information, females decide whether to nest or not.

    Following the mating season, a large number of female turtles are waiting for nesting. Males have started to return. Even after mating, female Olive Ridleys at times do not lay eggs if the environment is not conducive for nesting.

    While some experts say the turtles can keep the fertilised eggs inside their body for two to three years, others are of the view that the females can keep the sperm in their body and opt for fertilisation of eggs whenever they want, said Mr. Jena.

    Zoologists say female Olive Ridleys can also absorb fertilised eggs in their body if the nesting situation is not favourable. However, the nesting habit of Olive Ridleys still remains a mystery. In 2007, there was no mass nesting on the Rushikulya rookery coast, while in 2006, there was mass nesting on two occasions.



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