Kendrapara: Over 30,000 Olive Ridley Turtles have arrived at Gahirmatha Beach, the world s largest-known nesting ground of this marine specie.

The nesting beaches along Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 islands close to the Missile Test Range Centre at Wheeler s Island are teeming with thousands of female turtles who emerged from the sea, proceeded to the sandy beaches to lay eggs and then made a seaward journey instinctively.

As many as 31,083 female turtles virtually invaded the beach yesterday night. After loitering around the beach for three to four hours in search of favourable spots, they dug pits with their flippers and laid eggs," Gahirmatha forest Range Officer Subrat Patra said.

"Thereafter, they made their seaward journey. The serene beach, crowded with these marine creatures, was a breathtaking sight , the forest official, who was witness to the unique phenomenon, said.

Contrary to the apprehension that the turtles would skip their visit this time, they were spotted arriving at the sandy nesting ground around midnight.

Their egg-laying would go on for a week.

The phenomenon is known as 'Arribada', a Spanish term describing the converging of the Olive Ridley Turtles on the nesting ground for laying eggs.

Gahirmatha beach off Bay of Bengal coast is the world s largest-known nesting ground of these animals.

The Nasi-1 and Nasi-2 Island, in close proximity to Defence Research Development Organization s defence installation at Wheeler s Island, is witness to the unique phenomena of en-masse laying of eggs by these delicate marine visitors , Divisional forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division, Prasanna Kumar Acharya, said.