- Conservation related issues.
Odisha celebrates 1st Turtle Festival in Puri
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Turtle festival, significance, types of turtles in India, their conservation status and programmes.
Context: First Odisha Turtle Festival was held recently in Puri to create awareness and promote ideas on conservation of olive ridley turtles.
Organised by: Cox & Kings Foundation in association with Humane Society International/India and Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA).
Need of the hour:
Odisha has half of the world’s Olive Ridley turtle population and 90% of India’s turtle population lives in the state. Despite that no actions have been taken for their conservation. Therefore, the government should develop some infrastructure near the turtle nesting sites at Devi and Rusikulya rivers, the two major nesting grounds.
Back to Basics:
- There are five species in Indian waters — Leatherback (Vulnerable), Loggerhead (Endangered), Hawksbill (Critically Endangered), Green (Endangered) and Olive Ridley.
- In India, sea turtles are protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
- The Olive ridley is the most numerous among the sea turtles found in India and is well known for its arribadas, or annual mass nestings when thousands of turtles migrate to the breeding ground to nest simultaneously.
- Recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red list.
- International trade in these turtles and their products is banned under CITES Appendix I.
‘Operation Kachhapa’: Conservation of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was launched by the Wildlife Protection Society of India in collaboration with the Orissa State Forest Department and the Wildlife Society of Orissa and other local NGOs.
To reduce accidental killing in India, the Orissa government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net specially designed with an exit cover which allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.
Sources: DowntoEarth and IUCN.