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Posted on 12 May, 2012

Meet Olive Ridley, we did last Tuesday evening!

Meet Olive Ridley, we did last Tuesday evening!

We were thrilled to meet this Olive Ridley on the beach at Bare Sand Island on Tuesday evening. We are only treated to an Olive once or twice a season, despite the species being the most abundant of sea turtles. Olive is the second smallest sea turtle, she weighs between 34 – 45 kg and reaches approximately .6 m in length. The name Olive is from her pale green shell. Olives occur globally and are found mainly in tropical regions of the Pacific, Indian, and Southern Atlantic Oceans. They are primarily pelagic, spending much of their life in the open ocean, reaching sexual maturity at about 15 years of age.

The special thing about Olives is that they nest in masses in other parts of the world. This phenomenon is referred to as arribadas, a time when thousands of females nest over the course of a few days to a few weeks. The well publicised photo above was taken in Costa Rica. Large arribadas also occurs in Mexico and India, and Olives are known to nest in over 40 countries throughout the world.

Despite their relative abundance in comparison to other sea turtles, Olives are considered vulnerable around the world by the IUCN Red List and they are listed as threatened in the United States. In numerical terms, their numbers have decreased by approximately 50 percent since the 1960’s.

So, how lucky we were last Tuesday evening to see healthy girl strut up the beach and do her stuff. We wonder how many of her offspring will survive, as last season we rescued a hatchling from the beach that had been mauled by a crab. This hatchling (pictured above) was taken in by the Territory Wildlife Park, and is now one very robust little turtle, so much so that Kate, one of the Marine Biologists at the Park, has placed her on an aerobic program to keep her fit. We look forward to being involved with her release back into the sea off her hatching ground of Bare Sand Island later this year. Until that time, she can be visited at the world class aquarium at the Territory Wildlife Park. However, if seeing these majestic reptiles in the wild is your thing, you can take your chances and book a Turtle Tour to see if you get lucky with an Olive Ridley at Bare Sand Island.

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