Conservationists tag turtle to help protect Ridleys
The good news is: Sumitha's mother and friends will now be able to track her movement and her well-being even when she is thousands of kilometres away in the sea. She now has a transmitter attached to her carapace yes, Sumitha is an Olive Ridley turtle that will send signals through satellite and help conservationists gather data that will go a long way in protecting her species.
"As sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles, they come up to the ocean surface every 40 minutes. The antenna on the satellite tag will transmit signals during this time to the satellite and by mapping these points, her path of migration can be determined. The tagging will help in studying the turtle's migratory route and areas of foraging," said Dr Supraja Dharini of TREE Foundation, who tagged Sumitha. This is the first time a sea turtle has been tagged outside Orissa, where the project was undertaken by the Wildlife Insititute of India in association with the petroleum ministry.
The satellite was switched on by chief wildlife warden R Sundararaju, former chief wildlife warden C K Sreedharan, joint fisheries director A Satyamurthy and US consul general Andrew T Simkin. Satellite tags are radio transmitters with GPS that transmit a signal that can be detected by polar orbiting satellites. "Since data collected can be recovered by satellite even if the turtle swims hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from where it was released, the technique holds great potential for unlocking many secrets of marine turtle behaviour and ecology. The outcome of the study will be shared with the ministry of environment and forest and fisheries," said Dr Dharini.
Sumitha can be tracked on the following link http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=477. Another turtle will be tagged by the Tree Foundation during the early hours of March 14. Details on treefoundationindia.org.