Olive Ridley turtles

About Olive Ridley turtles: These are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.Olive Ridley turtles

Conservation status:

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
Characteristics of Olive Ridley turtles

Habitat: They are found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

Features: Males and female Olive Ridley grow to the same size. However, the females have a slightly more rounded carapace(shell) as compared to the male.

Diet: These turtles are carnivores. They feed mainly on jellyfish, shrimp, snails, crabs, molluscs and a variety of fish and their eggs.

Migration: They spend their entire lives in the ocean. Further, they migrate thousands of kilometres between feeding and mating grounds in a year.

Threats: 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.

Arribada (Mass Nesting) of Olive Ridley Turtles

They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada. Under this, thousands of females 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 shore.

The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-ridley. This is followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.

Nesting site in India:

The Odisha coast has three arribada beaches at Gahirmatha, the mouth of the Devi river, and in Rushikulya, where about 1 lakh nests are found annually.

The Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha is considered the world’s largest nesting beach for Olive Ridleys.

The Rushikulya river mouth is considered the second-biggest nesting site for Olive Ridley Turtles in India.

Recently, a new mass nesting site has been discovered in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. As per reports, it has more than 5,000 nests in a season.

Initiatives to conserve Olive Ridley turtles

Indian Coast Guard undertakes “Operation Olivia” every year. It is an Olive Ridley Turtle protection program.

To reduce the accidental killing in India, the Odisha government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices(TEDs). It is a net specially designed with an exit cover that allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.

Print Friendly and PDF