Wildlife Protection Current Affairs

Breeding season of Olive Ridleys begin in Odisha

Olive Ridley turtles have started arriving in large at Gahirmatha beach in Odisha’s Kendrapara district for breeding season. Gahirmatha beach is known as world’s largest rookery of this species.

During the breeding season, large numbers of turtles arrive at Gahirmatha beach for mating. Later, they scale sand slope in large numbers to lay eggs in January and February. In 2016-17 season, around 9.75 lakh Olive Ridley turtles came out from sea to lay eggs along Odisha coast.

Olive Ridley

Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is smallest and most abundant of all sea turtle found in world. It gets its name from its olive coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded. It is found in warm waters of Pacific and Indian oceans.

It spends entire lives in ocean and migrates thousands of kilometers between feeding and mating grounds in course of a year. Though found in abundance, their numbers have been declining over the past few years. It is recognized as Vulnerable by IUCN Red list. In India, it is protected under Wildlife (Protection) Act.

The breeding season of Olive Ridley turtle commences its journey from Indian Ocean towards Bay of Bengal during their mating season in October and November every year. A single female can lay upto 100 to 150 eggs in a pit dug on beaches. The destination for majority of turtles for laying egg is Gahirmatha in Odisha. The sandy stretches of Hope Island of Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary also have turned into a breeding area. Six weeks later these eggs hatches and newly hatched turtles start  journey to their Indian Ocean habitat.

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Four Asian vulture species from India gets highest protection under CMS

Several species of vultures including four from India on their migratory routes were awarded highest protection by the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

They were among 34 species which were awarded highest protection during CMS Summit held in Manila in submissions made by 24 countries from Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania.

Species awarded highest protection are

Asian vultures are red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture, Indianvulture and slender-billed vulture. They are faced with threats such as poisoning, hunting, collision with electricity cables and habitat degradation. A subspecies of black noddy, yellow bunting and lesser and great grey shrike are other avians listed on CMS protected list.

Whale shark, which inhabits the Indian Ocean also got global protection. Blue shark and common guitarfish also was awarded highest protection. Widespread over-fishing is driving many shark species, including whale shark to extinction. India is among 121 nations whose waters are home to sharks threatened with near extinction. The major threats are bycatch in nets and vessel strikes.

Caspian seal also has been identified for conservation. It is the only marine mammal found in the world’s largest inland sea, where its migration is prompted by ice formation and foraging. Central Asia’s rarest species, Przewalski’s horse and Gobi bear also received highest degree of protection.

Outcomes of Manila summit of CMS

The summit held in Manila was largest in the 38-year history of the Convention, which is also known as Bonn Convention after German city in which it was signed. Delegates from 91 countries had attended the summit. Manila summit adopted resolution to develop and manage protected area networks within the ASEAN region. Governments also agreed to cooperate on reducing negative impact of marine debris, noise pollution, renewable energy and climate change on the lives of migratory species.

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