Community led Olive Ridley Sea Turtle and their Habitat Conservation

Olive Ridleys are vital to the health of ecosystems. They help to maintain balance coastal and marine ecosystems. But unfortunately, Olive Ridley populations are declining with each passing day. Since most nesting beaches in Odisha are affected by factors that endanger nesting turtles, eggs and hatchlings. As per study, only 1 in 1000 hatchlings survives to adulthood. To counter the high mortality rate and low survival rate, these gentle species have been pushed towards the brink of extinction. This high mortality rate is driven by factors such as predation as well as anthropogenic activities. Nests are damaged by changing tides and beach erosion, and eggs are consumed by predators. Once the hatchlings come out from the nest are consumed by predators. The pollution level increases in Odisha coast, garbage and debris on beaches traps to hatchlings, adults’ mistake plastic for jellyfish and premature death for many sea turtles in Odisha. The climate change induced beach erosion, natural disasters also affecting negative impacts on Olive Ridleys and their habitat in Odisha coast.

Thus, our project has been dealing with ways of reducing threats to nests, hatchlings, turtles and their habitats. Our project is increase survival chances of the hatchlings by active nest protection (eggs and hatchlings) in in-situ and ex-situ, rescuing and releasing disoriented hatchlings safely to the ocean, nesting beach management through removal of debris like plastics, discarded fishing nets and educating and sensitizing programme for local communities, school students and tourists. We are enabling the creation of a strong and vital community-based Olive Ridley conservation in non-protected beaches of Odisha.