The satellite-tagged turtle Bageshri, who travelled from the coast of Maharashtra to Sri Lanka, does not appear to be slowing down as she has moved deeper into the Bageshri and Guha and appears to be foraging there. Guha, another satellite-tagged turtle, is still staying in the region to the north of the Malabar coast.
Virendra Tiwari, director, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) said, “A few days back, Bageshri moved further into the Bay of Bengal and appears to very likely spending time foraging out there while Guha continues to remain in the area north of the Malabar coast.”
Dr R Suresh Kumar, scientist, department of endangered species management, WII, and his team have been tracking the interesting journey of the turtles. Dr R Suresh Kumar told mid-day that since the day the turtles were tagged, Bageshri has travelled 5,250 km and Guha has travelled 3,720 km. Asked if Bageshri might move further south or towards the Tamil Nadu or Chennai coast, the official said, “I am expecting Bageshri to circle around in the area where she currently is as it is a highly productive zone.”
On the night of February 21, the WII team, Mangrove Foundation, and the Maharashtra forest department’s Ratnagiri division patrolled Guhagar beach, and the female olive ridley turtles, who were eventually named Bageshri and Guha, were restrained after they had nested at the spot. On February 23, the turtles were returned to the sea in the morning after the WII team had fitted them with satellite transmitters.
The Maharashtra coast has sporadic nesting of olive ridley sea turtles. Till now, the reptiles had been tagged only on the east coast of India. This is the first such project on the west coast. A research project ‘Tracking the migratory movements of olive ridley sea turtles off the coast of Maharashtra’ had been commissioned by the Mangrove Foundation, Maharashtra forest department and the WII.
The findings of this project will help in understanding the population of olive ridley turtles on the western coast of India, their migration pattern, foraging ground and behaviour. The Mangrove Foundation and Mangrove Cell of the forest department are planning to take up more such research initiatives to strengthen turtle conservation of Maharashtra.
Day tagged turtles were returned to sea