“Operation Olivia” to Protect Olive Ridley Turtles

What is the News? Indian Coast Guards (ICG) are using an aircraft for ‘Operation Olivia’ to protect Olive Ridley turtles.

About Operation Olivia:
  • Operation Olivia was launched by the Indian Coast Guard in the early 1980s.
  • Purpose: The operation aims to protect Olive Ridley turtles when they arrive at the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting from November to December.
  • Indian Coast Guards(ICGs) execute this operation. As part of the operation, ICGs conducts round-the-clock surveillance. Assets of Indian Coast Guards such as fast patrol vessels, air cushion vessels, interceptor craft, and Dornier aircraft are used in this operation to enforce laws near the rookeries (colony of breeding animals).
About Olive Ridley Turtles:
  • The Olive Ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
  • They are found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I (It prohibits trade in turtle products by signatory countries)
    • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

Click Here to Read more About Olive Ridley Turtles

Nesting Habitat of Olive Ridley Turtle:
  • Olive ridley turtles have a unique habit of mass nesting called Arribada. Under this, thousands of female turtles come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • 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.
    • 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.
Need of Operation Olivia:
  • Firstly, damage to Olive Ridley Turtles Eggs: There are three main factors that damage Olive Ridley turtles and their eggs:
    • heavy predation of eggs by dogs and wild animals,
    • indiscriminate fishing with trawlers and gill nets and
    • beach soil erosion
  • Secondly, dense fishing activity along the coasts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
  • Thirdly, development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, and tourist centers.
  • And lastly, poaching for their meat, shell, and leather.

Source: The Hindu

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