Slowly Vanishing Olive Ridley Turtle
One of the endangered marine species, the Olive Ridley Turtle is facing many challenges today. The Olive Ridley Turtles arrive at India’s eastern coastal shores of Odisha and Tamil Nadu from South America during their nesting and breeding season every year. The increased pollution in seas and oceans, and ingestion of plastic has led to the death of numerous Olive Ridley Turtles. Olive Ridley Turtles play a major part in maintaining the marine ecosystem. They help to keep the seagrasses healthy and have a key role in balancing the food chain inside the ocean.
To conserve and protect Olive Ridley Turtles, the fishermen community, government organisations and non-governmental organisations worked together and their continuous efforts paid off! Organisations like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) also contributed to the protection of the Olive Ridley Turtles.
DRDO has a missile launching site in the Abdul Kalam Island at Gahirmatha coast. To protect baby turtles from going in the opposite direction, defence personnel have dimmed the bright light coming from the missile site. Forest guards have also been appointed at the coast to prevent predators like dogs, birds, and other animals from eating the baby turtles. The mortality rate of baby turtles is quite high and only 1 out of 1000 survives.
Breeding and Nesting Process
The Olive Ridley Turtles come to the shores every year in November and Decem¬ber to begin their breeding process and build nests for laying eggs. For this, they make a 2-feet spherical pit in the sand and the female turtle lays approximately 100 eggs in this nest. The hatchlings approximately take 45 days to come out on the shore from their nest.
The hatchlings have to face numerous challenges on the ocean coasts. After com¬ing out of the nest, hatchlings are attracted towards the ocean light. Sometimes, instead of going towards the ocean, baby turtles start moving in the opposite di¬rection, towards the land. This ultimately leads to their death due to many factors.