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Maharashtra Olive Ridleys found to nest multiple times in a single season

Researchers said that with this, they can confirm a long-held speculation that Olive Ridleys in Maharashtra nest more than once in a single season.

Savani had earlier laid 87 eggs at Anjarle beach

A female Olive Ridley turtle, nicknamed ‘Savani’, who was fitted with a satellite tracker at Anjarle beach in Ratnagiri district on January 25, delivered 76 eggs on Friday at the adjacent Kelshi beach (her second nesting in a span of one month).

Two turtles, Prathama and Saavani, were the first to be fitted with satellite trackers to monitor their movements. They were released from Velas and Anjarle beach in Ratnagiri on January 25.

Of the two, Prathama has since travelled about 75kms south of the coastline, while Saavani remained in shallower waters closer to the shore, returning to lay eggs once again on Friday. Both turtles are expected to venture into deeper waters sometime in March after a change in prevailing currents. It is currently speculated that the Ridleys move toward either the Middle East, Pakistan or towards Sri Lanka after laying eggs in Maharashtra.

No further satellite tagging of Olive Ridleys is to be carried out as part of the study.

 “Only their movements will be monitored,” said VirendraTiwari, APCCF, mangrove cell. While satellite monitoring of Olive Ridleys -- whose conservation status has been assessed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) -- has been previously carried out on India’s east coast, this marks the first time such a study has been commissioned in the west. The study received approval in October 2020, during the third governing body meeting of the Mangrove Foundation

Conservation needs to be looked at as a landscape issue,

R Suresh, a scientist who researches sea turtles at the Wildlife Institute of India, said the researchers have always held that sea turtles have a fidelity to their nesting sites and that they nest multiple times. “But what we have seen today is that the turtle has nested a second time at an adjacent beach. So, conservation needs to be looked at as a landscape issue, and the entire coastline requires protection. Not just individual beaches. Perhaps the turtles are regulating the sex of the hatchlings by nesting on beaches with different properties that helps regulate the temperature of the nests. Further study may give us a better idea on this,” he said.
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