ZSI Team Spots Female Turtle at Galathea, Tagged by Researchers in 2014

Port Blair, Feb 10: It was a delight for the researchers, when a team of Zoological Survey of India spotted a tagged turtle, in the South Bay Galathea in the Great Nicobar Island on 8th of February 2021. The female turtle is said to have been tagged in the year 2014 by the ANET researchers in Little Andaman Island.

Reacting to the report of spotting of a tagged turtle, Dr. Manish Chandi, former researcher at ANET explained, “We have been tagging turtles since a long time. The first MCBT researcher being Satish Bhaskar in the 1970's onwards till mid 90's. Subsequently the Andaman Nicobar Environment Team (ANET) took up tagging since the year 2000 till the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. ANET had tagged turtles in Galathea, Cuthbert Bay and Rutland prior to Tsunami and later in the West Bay, Little Andaman post Tsunami by a ANET-Dakshin Foundation project led by Adhith Swaminathan and team.

Researchers in Andaman have been tagging turtles since a long time in the Andaman & Nicobar archipelago. The purpose of such tagging is to identify individual female turtles that come to nest every season and to maintain a count. Such tagging also helps the researchers get the correct numbers which have arrived, rather than re-counting the same female over and over, which tends to give an exaggerated figure instead of the actual ones.

Tagging turtles has also been helping the researchers to identify the preferred locations used by female turtles.

Both Galathea Bay in southern Nicobar and West bay in Little Andaman Island are chosen by the NITI Aayog for a transhipment terminal and tourism development plans. These developments spell the end of nesting beaches used by the giant leatherback nesting sea turtles at these locations after they have used them for centuries. Giant leatherback sea turtles nest only in a few beaches in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the archipelago are the only location used by this species of sea turtle to nest in India.