Berhampur, March 6: A sea turtle research centre of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was inaugurated at Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Friday to study the endangered Olive Ridley turtles that annually lay millions of eggs along the state’s coast.
The centre, named after noted sea turtle expert C S Kar, was inaugurated by ZSI Director Kailash Chandra. The first-of-its-kind research centre will study all aspects of marine turtles, especially the Olive Ridley turtles, he said.
The ZSI, along with the state Forest and Environment Department, had launched a drive on January 12 to tag Olive Ridley turtles to track their migration patterns. The drive was launched at the Rushikulya river mouth, one of the three major nesting sites in the state.
“The tagging process is on. It will be expedited during the mass nesting,” Chandra said. The exercise to tag Olive Ridley turtles is being undertaken after a gap of 25 years. Around 8,000 turtles were tagged during the previous drive conducted in 1994-95.
During the present drive, around 30,000 turtles are expected to be tagged in three years, Anil Mohapatra, officer-in-charge of Estuarine Biology Research Centre, Ganjam, said. The Centre has provided Rs 40 lakh for the project and the state government has extended all assistance, he said.
“The project will provide insight into the turtles’ migratory patterns, routes, their behaviour at sea, location of their marine habitats and use of different habitats by them,” an expert said.
Millions of Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs along the Odisha coast, particularly at Gahiramatha Beach, Rushikulya river mouth and Devi river mouth every year. The mass nesting usually takes place in the second week of March.
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