Where did a record breaking nesting of Olive Ridley turtles happen in India?

The second smallest after the Kemp’s Ridley, the Olive Ridley turtles weigh between 34 - 45 kg and reach 2-2 ½ feet in length. They are named for their pale green carapace, or shell and are the most abundant of sea turtle species.

These nest in masses referred to as arribadas. During arribadas, thousands of females may nest over the course of a few days to a few weeks. There are only a few places in the world where Olive Ridley arribadas occur. In other parts of the world, they are solitary nesters.

Olive Ridleys are endangered sea turtles found in warm tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They travel thousands of kilometres in the ocean and only the females return to the original breeding sites within a period of two years. They are primarily pelagic, spending much of their life in the open ocean, but may also inhabit continental shelf areas and venture into bays and estuaries.

Worldwide, they nest in approximately 40 countries. In the Indian Ocean, the single most important breeding area for Olive Ridleys is along the Bay of Bengal in Odisha. The majority of Olive Ridleys nest in two or three large groups near Gahirmatha and near the mouth of the Rushikulya river. Nesting occurs elsewhere along the Coromandel Coast and Konkan coasts, but in scattered locations.

A record-breaking mass nesting by 3.8 lakh endangered Olive Ridley turtles took place at the Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha in February 2017.

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