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Rushikulya Rookery - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Rushikulya Rookery


What’s in news?

Preparations are almost done at the Rushikulya rookery on the Odisha coast to welcome and protect olive ridley turtles during mass nesting.

Key data’s:

  • The coast of Odisha in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive-ridley, followed by the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.
  • To provide security to mother turtles as well as the eggs from human and predator intervention, the forest department is erecting an over 5-km-long fence of metal net from Gokharkuda to Bateswar. This stretch is the most preferred location for mass nesting in the Rushikulya rookery.
  • The forest officials have already completed two to three rounds of awareness drive at all villages near the rookery.
  • Fishing in mechanised boats, including trawlers, has been banned.
  • In February, a fishing trawler from Andhra Pradesh was seized as it had illegally entered the restricted zone.
  • The whole stretch of the nesting beach has been cleaned four times in February.
  • Debris and plastic waste, like pieces of fishing net, are being removed with the help of locals. There will be regular monitoring of the beach.

Olive Ridley Turtles:

  • Olive Ridley turtle is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtle found in the world.
  • It gets its name from its olive coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded.
  • It is found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  • These turtles, along with the Kemps ridley turtle, are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada (mass-nesting event when thousands of turtles come ashore at the same time to lay eggs on the same).
  • They are carnivores.
  • It is classified as Vulnerable in IUCN Red List and is listed in Appendix I of CITES.
  • In India, it is protected under Wildlife (Protection) Act.


  • Unfriendly fishing practices: The accidental killing of adult turtles through entanglement in trawl nets and gill nets due to uncontrolled fishing during their mating season around nesting beaches.
  • The Odisha government has made it mandatory for trawls to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), a net specially designed with an exit cover which allows the turtles to escape while retaining the catch.
  • However, this has been strongly opposed by the fishing communities as they believe TEDs result in loss of a considerable amount of the catch along with the turtle.
  • Development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports and tourist centres.

Breeding site:

  • An important breeding area for olive Ridleys in the Indian Ocean along the Bay of Bengal is Odisha.
  • There are three major mass nesting areas:
    • Gahirmatha rookery close to the mouth of Brahmani-Baitarani Rivers,
    • Devi river mouth
    • Rushikulya river mouth

Rushikulya River:

  • It originates from Rushikulya hills of the Eastern Ghats in Phulbani district.
  • It is 165 kms. long with 8900 sq.kms of catchment areas.
  • It covers entire catchment area in the districts of Kandhamal and Ganjam district of Odisha.

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