IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Olive Ridley turtle                                                         

24th December, 2021 Environment

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Context: Researchers of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) are carrying out tagging of Olive Ridley turtles at three mass nesting sites – Gahirmatha, Devi River mouth and Rushikulya.


More about news:

  • The exercise was undertaken in Odisha in January 2021 after a span of about 25 years and 1,556 turtles had been tagged.
  • The metal tags affixed to 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.
  • If researchers in other countries come across the tagged turtles, they could email their location in longitude and latitude.



  • It would reveal the inter-rookery movement of turtles in Odisha.
  • The migration pattern to other countries would be recorded in detail.


Olive Ridley

  • The Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is listed as vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list.
  • All five species of sea turtles found in India are included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and in the Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which prohibits trade in turtle products by signatory countries.


Threats to Olive Ridley turtles

  • Three main factors that damage Olive Ridley turtles and their eggs —
    • heavy predation of eggs by dogs and wild animals
    • indiscriminate fishing with trawlers and gill nets, and
    • beach soil erosion.
  • Dense fishing activity along the coasts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, especially ocean-going trawlers, mechanised fishing boats and gill-netters pose a severe threat to turtles.

Nesting habits

  • The Olive Ridley has one of the most extraordinary nesting habits in the natural world, including mass nesting called arribadas.
  • The 480-km-long Odisha coast has three arribada beaches at Gahirmatha, the mouth of the Devi river, and in Rushikulya, where about 1 lakh nests are found annually.
  • More recently, a new mass nesting site has been discovered in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with more than 5,000 nests reported in a season.