During the early hours of January 4, we received notification of a surprise visitor to the Blu Beach area … a large turtle!
Unfortunately the turtle had already retreated to the sea by the time we arrived, possibly disturbed by human presence. The turtle had left scrapes in the sand in two different areas, suggesting that she had attempted to find a suitable nesting site.
Based on the pattern of the tracks left on the beach (alternating with tail drag) and a blurry photo taken by the Resort’s Grounds crew (heart shaped shell with seven pairs of costal scutes), we have identified the visitor as an Olive Ridley! This is certainly the first documented attempted nesting of an Olive Ridley on Landaa – indeed, it’s a rare event anywhere in the Maldives! It was an exciting glimpse of a species that we sadly usually only encounter through injured or net-entangled individuals.
As the turtle was disturbed, she may return in a few days to try nesting again, or will perhaps find another local beach to nest on. This is currently the breeding season for Olive Ridleys in the Indian Ocean, with mass nesting usually occurring in Orissa, India at the end of February.
Please report any sightings of turtles or turtle tracks to us at the Marine Discovery Centre as soon as possible. If you do see a turtle on the beach, please keep your distance and remain quiet, so as not to disturb the nesting process.