Arribada and the Winds of Change

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“The wind has shifted; it’s coming from the south now,” was the February 28 message from Muralidharan M., a researcher working on olive ridley sea turtles in the state of Orissa. His tentative conclusion: “the arribada could begin.” Rooted in Spanish, adopted by all, arribada means arrival— or in this case, arrival of olive ridley sea turtles from the ocean, en masse. Sure enough, thousands of sea turtles surfaced from the Bay of Bengal waters that same evening. The congregation … Read More

Tourism Devastates Turtle Habitat, Morjim Beach, Goa

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Olive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the smallest and the most abundant sea turtles found in the world. These turtles are known for their mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs like in coastal Odisha. Though found abundantly their numbers have been declining rapidly over the past few years and the species have been recognized as vulnerable by the IUCN red list.

Morjim beach in Pernem, Goa, is … Read More

Olive Ridley hatchlings at Rushikulya, Orissa

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Olive Ridley turtles are the smallest marine turtles. They hatch in millions on certain sections of Orissa’s coasts. But due to several threats (all man-made), very few of those that hatch make it to the sea — a distance of less than a 100 metres. And even those that make it to the sea get caught in fishermen’s dragnets further lessening the number that grow into adults to come back and lay eggs.

Some NGOs are working hard to protect … Read More

Orissa Imposes Seven-month Ban On Fishing Near Turtle Nesting Sites

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Orissa has imposed a 7-month fishing ban within 20 kms of the coastline in three districts where there are olive ridley turtle nesting sites. Turtles have started congregating for their annual mating and mass nesting ritual. The ban has been imposed near the beaches of Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi. Patrolling will be intensified to enforce the ban strictly. Last year, there were two nesting events and a record 7.2 lakh turtles had nested on the beaches. However, despite many conservation … Read More

Report Indicates Five Sea Turtle Danger Zones Exist in the Waters of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

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A study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has identified 11 most endangered turtle species and has said that the five of the danger zones are in the exclusive economic zones of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Poaching and killing of wildlife is rampant on Indian shores. The Olive Ridley and the Hawksbill turtles nest on Indian shores and they face their most danger from becoming bycatches in fisheries as well as direct harvest of turtles and … Read More

Record Release of Olive Ridley Turtle Hatchlings in Chennai Coast

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Over 14,000 hatchlings, coming out of around 180 nests, have been released this season in the 14-km stretch between Napier’s bridge and Neelangarai on the Chennai coast. The nests were relocated to safer locations using scientific protocol. Sustained action by conservationists have helped with turtle conservation. For instance, the Casuarina trees planted as part of the Tsunami Reconstruction encroached upon the turtle nesting sites. Sustained efforts from conservation NGOs caused the World Bank to withdraw its loan and the forest … Read More

Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles starts in Orissa Coast

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Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles has started in the Orissa Coast. During the past two nights, around 4 lakh hatchlings have come out of 50,000 nests. Around 2,54,000 mother turtles have come to nest this year. The hatchlings so far experienced tough conditions for hatching, as light rains had hardened the top layer of the sand, making it hard for them to emerge from the nests. Hundreds of volunteers under the banner of the Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee … Read More

Conservation projects launched for Olive Ridley Turtles and Black Bucks in Ganjam District, Orissa

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Two projects have been launched under the Natural Resources Conservation Outside Protected Areas (NRCOPA) scheme in Ganjam district. The Rushikulya River Mouth project has been launched for Olive Ridley Sea Turtle conservation, while the Bhetonai-Balipadar project has been launched to protect Black Bucks. The NRCOPA is a Central Government scheme for conservation of biodiversity through community-led efforts. The said projects will extend support to conservation efforts in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh  by strengthening the capacity of communities to manage resources … Read More

Freeing sea turtle nesting beaches from Casuarina plantations – A case study from Tamil Nadu

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When two powerful entities such as the World Bank and a State Government agency make an expensive ecological blunder, what are the chances that they can be persuaded to undo the damage? In the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a massive coastal plantation project initiated by the two was about to permanently destroy sea turtle nesting grounds. Would a small group of conservationists be able to make them see sense? Shekar Dattatri recounts the untold story of a campaign … Read More