New Delhi/ Mumbai, Jan 29 : Signifying the start of a new era in sea turtle conservation in Maharashtra, the state has embarked on satellite tagging of Olive ridley sea Turtle, a first for the Western Coast of India.

Till now, the turtles were tagged only on the east coast of India. In a first for the West Coast of India, a female turtle was successfully satellite tagged in Velas beach in Konkan area.

Maharashtra coast has sporadic nesting of Olive ridley sea turtles. At some places, communities are actively involved in conservation projects.

A research project 'Tracking the migratory movements of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles off the coast of Maharashtra' has been commissioned by the Mangrove Foundation, Maharashtra Forest Department to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The tagging was part of this project.

"This study will help in understanding the movement pattern of Olive ridley sea turtles off the coast of Western India," said Forest Department official.

A total of five turtles are to be satellite tagged under this project. This turtle has been named 'Prathama' as it is the first to be satellite tagged in Maharashtra (and for Western Coast of India) and also it signifies the start of a new era in sea turtle conservation in Maharashtra, the official said.

The Mangrove Foundation, Maharashtra Forest Department and WII plan to tag the four more Olive ridley turtles from different beaches in Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

"The @MangroveForest has been one of the most active agencies in the past few years. In the last 2 years, we've been able to declare and protect more that 11,000 Ha mangrove area.

I commend the mangrove cell on this successful satellite tagging for further study," had thus tweeted Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray in appreciation of his team.

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