Nagapattinam: As many as 67 Olive ridley turtles, hatched in the artificial hatchery run by the forest department at Kodiakarai here, were let into the sea today.
Kodiakarai and Vedaranyam areas in Nagapattinam coast attract a large number of Olive Ridleys every year during the nesting season, which begins in December and continues till March. The female turtles travel towards the coast to lay eggs.
On the coast, each female turtle lays around 100 eggs and returns to the sea. The hatching period ranges around 60 days. Predators like dogs, crows and vultures damage and
eat the eggs on the coast. Most eggs get damaged and only a handful successfully hatch.
Olive Ridley turtles have been classified as endangered species and the Nagapattinam wildlife department has set up a hatchery at Kodiakarai to hatch the eggs artificially.The
Forest Department has set up egg collection centres at six points in Veadaranyam coast.
Official sources said this year over 825 eggs were collected.
The forest department has intensified patrolling along the Vedarnayam and Kodiakarai coast to prevent illegal collection of eggs. The sources said Ridley eggs do not possess any curative or healing effect. On the contrary, they said consumption of the egg could cause piles and other diseases and warned the people not to be carried away by false claims.