- Olive Ridley turtle is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtle found in the world. It gets its name from its olive coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.
- It is found in warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. It spends entire lives in the ocean and migrates thousands of kilometres between feeding and mating grounds in the course of a year.
- During the breeding season they lay their eggs at Gahirmatha in Odisha.
- However the sandy stretches of Hope Island of the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary have become the new breeding area.
- Mass nesting of hundreds of thousands of Olive Ridley sea turtles on the seacoast of Orissa is called arribada.
- Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years. It is recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red list.
- In India, it is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
Government Measures for the protection of Olive Ridley turtle
- The Fisheries Department is encouraging the mechanised boat owners to fit a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) to their trawl nets to allow the turtles to pass.
- Operation Kachhapa, launched by the Wildlife Protection Society of India in 1998, collaborates with the Orissa State Forest Department and the Wildlife Society of Orissa and other local NGOs. Its Objective is to reduce turtle mortality and try to
safeguard the future of the species by concentrating on three main activities:
1. To improve patrolling of non-fishing zones and the protection of nesting sites.
2. To support legal action on turtle conservation and fishing law violations.
3. To build public support and awareness of sea turtle conservation issues.Setting up a Turtle Interpretation Centre in Bhubaneswar, Orissa’s capital, to help spread awareness of the need for conservation activities.