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Gahirmatha witnesses Arribada

Focus: GS-III: Environment and Biodiversity

Context

2.45 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles crawled ashore on the Nasi-II beach of the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary along the Odisha coast for laying eggs, marking one of the largest opening day arrivals of turtles at the site.

Olive Ridley Turtles

  • The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  • In the Indian Ocean, the majority of olive ridleys nest in two or three large groups at Rushikulya rookery near Gahirmatha in Odisha.
  • The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the olive ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.
  • The species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List, Appendix 1 in CITES, and Schedule 1 in Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Special feature: Mass nesting

  • best known for their behavior of synchronized nesting in mass numbers, termed Arribadas.
  • Females return to the very same beach from where they first hatched, to lay their eggs.
  • Lay their eggs in conical nests about one and a half feet deep which they laboriously dig with their hind flippers.
  • Hatch in 45 to 60 days, depending on the temperature of the sand and atmosphere during the incubation period.

Source – The Hindu

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