Olive Ridley turtles arrive at Gahirmatha sanctuary

Olive Ridley turtles arrive at Gahirmatha sanctuary Kendrapara: Female Olive Ridley turtles have arrived to lay eggs at the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara district in Orissa, as they do every year.

Around 35,000 of the turtles, an endangered species, have appeared since yesterday on the beaches on the south eastern part of Nasi-2 Island, close to the Defence Research Development Organisation's defence installation at Wheelers Island, forest officials said.

With DRDO prohibiting visitors, only forest personnel on turtle protection duty have access to the nesting ground, the officials said.

Last year, 1.70 lakh turtles had turned up, while none had arrived in 2008.

The arrivals would continue for at least five days, wildlife personnel of Bhitarkanika National Park said.

About 50 forest personnel are deployed on the beach to keep vigil on the mass nesting and to keep away predators like wild dogs.

An Olive Ridley Turtle usually lays about 120 to 150 eggs which hatch after about 45 to 50 days.