Endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, which were tagged for the purpose of studying their migration pattern, have returned for mass nesting to the Odisha coast.
The tagged Olive Ridley turtles have reappeared in Gahiramatha, considered the world's largest rookery of the creatures, in Kendrapara district for laying eggs this year.
The sighting of 'tagged' turtles established the belief that these marine creatures prefer Odisha for laying eggs, said Gahirmatha Forest Range officer Subrat Patra.
The forest department in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, fitted tags on the flippers of turtles between 1998 and 2010. The tagging had been conducted during the arrival of turtles for mass nesting, said informed sources.
"We have spotted some turtles with metallic flipper tags. The recovered tags are marked 'Gahiramatha', 'WII' and a number. The reappearance of tagged turtles shows that the female turtles return to the same beach to lay eggs, where they were born decades ago," said Patra.
Over 3.5 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles have come to the Nasi-2 beach within the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary for laying eggs.
The wildlife department of the state government has made adequate protection for the endangered species for their safe laying of eggs.
The Olive Ridley turtles have laid over 3,55,000 eggs within a week of mass nesting in Rushikulya river mouth of Ganjam coast, which is an all-time record, Berhampur's Divisional Forest Officer Ashish Kumar Behera told IANS last week. The turtles had laid 3,09,000 eggs last year.