Category: Science / September 28, 2012 6:05 PM EDT
Mexican naval personnel and conservationists released 4,000 turtle hatchlings into the Pacific on Friday (September 28) after they were born in a government facility.
The turtles' eggs were hatched in incubators after they were extracted from their nests by the Mexican Navy in order to protect the eggs from looters.
The eggs are a traditional part of the diet on Oaxaca's sweltering coastal plains, where markets openly display them alongside turtle meat, despite laws prohibiting their sale.
Over 600 children from 20 local schools participated in releasing the turtles.
Hundreds of thousands of Olive Ridley turtles usually land on Oaxaca's Pacific beaches as part of an annual egg-laying migration.
Of the 4,000 turtles released, authorities expect that only around 400 will survive to be adults, due to threats to their habitat and natural predators.
Named for it's olive green shell, the Olive Ridley sea turtle has been listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union since 1986 due to declining numbers.