Spatial Dynamics of Olive Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) Density in the Tropical Sea Water of India

  • Satyaranjan BeheraEmail author
  • Binod Chandra Choudhury
  • Sushil Kumar Dutta
Research Article


The spatial dynamics and density of Olive Ridley sea turtles in the near shore water of the Gahirmatha rookery, Odisha, India was studied from 2007 to 2010 turtle breeding season. The study focused on off-shore dynamics, estimation of relative density of Olive Ridleys at their off-shore breeding ground, behaviour of Olive Ridley sea turtles in offshore water prior to their approach to the arribada beach. A total of 2256, 3116 and 5573 surfacing turtles were sighted that included mating pairs, groups of two and three in the tropical off water during seasonal breeding period of 2007–2008, 2008–2009 and 2009–2010. Congregations of turtle were found to be aggregated within 5 km distance from the shoreline at a depth range of 7–20 m. The mean ± SE SST was 25.8 ± 0.02 °C (range: 21–32 °C) and 27.1 ± 0.07 °C (range: 23–32.3 °C) for the periods of 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 breeding season. The estimated surface density of individual turtles in 2007–2008 was 42.2 turtles/Km2 (CV = 13.3%) followed by 47.3 turtles/Km2 (CV = 24.3%) in 2008–2009 and 78.3 turtles/Km2 (CV = 15.6%) in 2009–2010 breeding season. The result of this present work suggests that turtle movement in the offshore water of Gahirmatha are dynamics and move spatio-temporarily. Therefore, offshore conservation measures for Olive Ridleys at Gahirmatha rookery or elsewhere should be of area specific and area wise turtle congregation patches should be identified during their breeding season, and patrolling can be intensified in these areas to prevent any harmful fishing activities.


Distribution pattern Relative density Arribada Olive Ridley Gahirmatha Odisha 



The authors are grateful to the Wildlife Wing of Odisha Forest Department, Government of Odisha for necessary permission for field work and Rajnagar (Mangrove) Forest Division for logistic help in the field. We would like to acknowledge the help of all our Field Assistants for collecting necessary data in the field. We are also indebted our gratitude to Director General of Hydrocarbon, Government of India for funding support and Director and Dean, Wildlife Institute of India through whom the project was implemented.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Zoological Society, Kolkata, India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satyaranjan Behera
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Binod Chandra Choudhury
    • 2
  • Sushil Kumar Dutta
    • 3
  1. 1.Odisha Biodiversity Board, Regional Plant Resource Centre CampusBhubaneswarIndia
  2. 2.Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehradunIndia
  3. 3.North Orissa UniversityBaripadaIndia

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