First Turtle Festival in Odisha - Background Context
Very recently Odisha’s first Turtle was held in Puri to promote the ideology of conservation and create awareness about the Olive Ridley turtle. The festival is organized by the Cox and Kings in collaboration with Humane Society International/India and APOWA.
Need of the hour:
Surprisingly 90 percent of the overall Turtle population (India only) lives in the state of Odisha. Moreover, the state of Odisha occupies more than 50% population of Olive Ridley turtles spread globally.
Known to these fact figures and nesting grounds of the turtles, it is expected that the government of India should develop infrastructure and feasible schemes close to Devi and Rushikulya rivers (these two sites are a major nesting grounds for the turtles).
Five species in Indian waters
- Leatherback (Conservation Status: Vulnerable).
- Loggerhead (Conservation Status: Endangered).
- Hawksbill (Conservation Status: Critically Endangered).
- Green (Conservation Status: Endangered) and Olive Ridley.
Sea turtles in India are legally under the protection through the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- The Olive Ridley Turtle is considered to be the most abundant and smallest in nature, compared to the sea turtles observed and found around the globe. They are warm water turtles (tropical turtles) mostly found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
- They are very well known for their returning for annual nesting at shores. These shore or sites are breeding/nesting grounds for the mass population (thousands) of the turtle at once or simultaneously.
The "IUCN Red List" recognizes this species and marked the conservation status as “Vulnerable”
- The international trade of these vulnerable turtle specie is strictly prohibited.
- The Wildlife Protection Society of India in association with the Forest Dept. of Odisha, Odisha’s Wildlife Society, and other local NGOs launched the conservation program for Olive Ridley Turtle.
- There is a special provision made by the State Govt. of Odisha to avoid the accidental killing of the Turtle. The fishing trawls now have to use the Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs). The use of TEDs has been made mandatory by the Odisha Government. TEDs are specially designed net that allows the turtle to escape the fishing net and retains the catch.