Welcoming the phenomenon in Odisha
The olive ridley turtle is the smallest and most abundantly found sea turtle in the world. In India, it is found all along the Indian coastline, inhabiting the waters of the Indian Ocean, and And faces serious threats across its migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches and requires immediate interventions to ensure its long term survival. The olive ridley, along with its cousin, the Kemps Ridley, are the only two sea turtle species in the world which exhibit the unique mass nesting phenomenon, also known as ‘arribada’, making it an iconic species.
WWF-India, in partnership with Smart Chip India Pvt. Ltd., an IDEMIA company, has been working towards the conservation of olive ridley turtles nesting along the nesting beach for olive ridleys at three sites in Odisha – the Devi beach (Devi River Mouth), Podampeta (Rishikulya River Mouth) and Ramayapatnam (Bahuda River Mouth). The objectives of WWF-India’s work here are the protection of the nests through hatchery management, training local communities and monitoring nesting beaches and generating awareness and sensitizing fishermen communities.
Here are some glimpses of the iconic phenomenon of hatchlings emerging from nests as it occurs right now:
WWF-India volunteers helps hatchlings escape from entanglement from fishing nets
Local communities are engaged for safe hatchling release into the sea. The event also involves children of fishermen, acting as an excellent tool to sensitise them for conservation of olive ridleys
'The last walk' of a hatchling from the nest to the sea is very critical to the imprinting of a geomagnetic field which helps olive ridleys find their way back to their place of birth as adults
The scrambling little ones of olive ridleys make their way out of the nest and rushing towards the sea
1 in 1000 hatchlings make it to adulthood. Even after reaching the sea, baby turtles face threat from sea predators like sea gulls, sharks and other large fish
Image © Michael Peters/WWF-India