Researchers lose contact with third Olive Ridley in four months
After losing contact with two turtles since March, researchers have been unable to reach a third turtle out of the five Olive Ridleys tagged from Maharashtra coast. The state-run Mangrove Foundation confirmed that the researchers have lost contact with the turtle named Saavni and suspected that the inbuilt battery of the transmitter got exhausted earlier than expected.
“After actively transmitting its location for 130 days since tagging, Saavani’s transmitter has gone silent and has not responded since June 5. It appears to be a case of the inbuilt battery getting exhausted earlier than what was predicted,” tweeted the Mangrove Foundation of Maharashtra.
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 the carapace (hard shell) of the turtle at Ratnagiri district coastline.
Saavni was the second Olive Ridley turtle tagged and it travelled 1,960 km from the nesting beach of Anjarle to its last location, which was 100 km off the coast of Kumta, Karnataka.
Out of the five, researchers first lost contact with Laxmi on March 2. It was suspected that this may be due to the malfunctioning of the transmitter or that the turtle may have died.
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There was no signal from Prathama, which was the first turtle to be fitted with the transmitter at Velas beach last month. Prathama had covered a distance of 2,700 km. The last transmitted location of Prathama was 60 km off the coast of Kunkeshwar in the Sindhudurg district of the state.
Talking to the Indian Express at the commencement of the project, Dr R Suresh Kumar, senior scientist from the Department of Endangered Species Management, WII, Dehradun, explained the use of PTT. “The transmitter is hydro-dynamic, it doesn’t interfere or cause any impediment to the turtles. In the case of Hawksbill turtles, which use reefs and corals, there are chances of them scratching their shell on the reef and in turn dropping the transmitter. However, a similar situation is unlikely in the case of an Olive ridley which is a pelagic species — that lives in the open sea and moves along with the ocean current. The epoxy resin used can withstand the harsh marine environment,” he had said.
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