Recently, The Olive Ridley hatchlings began
their journey into the Bay of Bengal. Olive Ridley turtles come to the shores
of the Bay of Bengal to lay their eggs between December and April every year.
The Olive Ridley turtles are the smallest and
most abundant of all sea turtles in the world. They inhabit in the warm waters
of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. It is listed as Vulnerable in the
IUCN Red List.
The Olive Ridley turtles are best known for
their unique mass nesting called Arribada. During Arribada, a large number of
female turtles come together on the same beach to lay eggs. Each female digs a
sandpit, lays 90 to 120 eggs and promptly closes the pit before leaving the
An important breeding area for olive Ridleys in
the Indian Ocean along the Bay of Bengal is Odisha. There are three major mass
nesting areas: a) Gahirmatha rookery close to the mouth of Brahmani-Baitarani
Rivers, b) Devi river mouth and c) Rushikulya river mouth. A rookery is a
communal nesting ground of animals.
The major threats to Olive Ridley turtles are:
a) poor fishing practices, b) development and exploitation of nesting beaches
for ports, and tourist centres, c) poaching for their meat, shell and leather.
Olive Ridley turtles are legally protected in
India under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Indian Coast
Guard undertakes “Operation Olivia” every year. It is an Olive Ridley Turtle