Researchers lose contact with 4th of 5 Olive Ridley turtles tagged for first time

RESEARCHERS HAVE been unable to reach the fourth of the five Olive Ridley turtles tagged from the Maharashtra coast. They had lost contact with three turtles since March.

The state-run Mangrove Foundation confirmed that researchers have lost contact with Rewa and suspected a transmitter failure. “On June 22, we lost the signal of turtle ‘Rewa’ which was tagged at Guhagar on 15 Feb, 22. Possibly, this is due to transmitter failure. She covered 2328 km distance and dived up to 330 m. Last located about 90 km off the coast of Karwar, Karnataka,” tweeted the Mangrove Foundation of Maharashtra on August 2.

Under the turtle monitoring project, five turtles — Prathama, Savani (on January 25), Vanashree, Rewa and Laxmi (on February 13 and 16) — were tagged with platform transmitter terminals (PTTs) which were fitted with epoxy resin on their carapace (hard shell) at Ratnagiri district coastline.

Out of the five, researchers first lost contact with Laxmi on March 2. Since June 9, there was no signal from Prathama, the first turtle to be fitted with the transmitter at Velas beach. Saavani’s transmitter has gone silent and has not responded since June 5.

Researchers from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and Mangrove foundation are tracking Vanashree, which is in the nearshore waters i.e., within 100km from the shoreline. This was the first time that Olive Ridley sea turtles along the Maharashtra Coast were tagged and studied.

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