Monitoring of Nesting Sites of Olive Ridleys and Identification of Future Potential Mass Nesting sites Along the Gahirmatha Rookery, Odisha, East Coast of India

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Sea turtles are known to occupy a series of different habitats in their lifetime which are broadly categorized into the terrestrial habitat of the nesting females and the pelagic and oceanic habitat of the immediate post-hatchling phase. However, the terrestrial habitat of the nesting females plays a very important role in the life cycle of the sea turtles as this is where the next generation is hatched. Female sea turtles need to come onto land to lay eggs for which they must have access to suitable beaches (Hendrickson 1982; Plotkin 2010; Behera et al. 2013). Males are restricted to oceanic habitat and after completion of mating they generally leave the breeding ground before the female. Degradation, transformation and destruction of natural conditions at nesting beaches due to coastal developments continue to threaten the long-term survival of many olive ridley rookeries (Plotkin 2007; Behera & Tripathy 2014). Odisha state along the east coast of India supports a considerable global olive ridley sea turtle population which migrates for breeding with synchronized nesting taking place at some selected locations i.e. Gahirmatha, Devi and Rushikulya. The olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) are known to make enormous congregations along the Odisha coast between November and April and arribada takes place along suitable nesting beaches including Gahirmatha, which is known to be the largest rookery for this species in the world (Bustard 1976; Dash & Kar 1990). The Gahirmatha rookery is located at the mouth of the Maipura and Dhamra rivers, the distributary channels of the Brahmani and Baitarani river systems, belonging to the Mahanadi composite delta in Kendrapada district, north Odisha



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Author(s)Behera S
Published Date2016
Publication LanguageEnglish
TypeScientific Article
CMS InstrumentIOSEA Marine Turtles
Sourcehttp://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/sites/default/files/u8/v8n3behera.pdf

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