A three-month protection with adequate veterinary care helped a female Olive Ridley turtle return to the sea on Saturday.

The turtle was washed ashore near Mamallapuram, in February, with her left front flipper missing due to entanglement in fishing net.

When the information reached volunteers of TREE Foundation, they rescued it and brought it to the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Neelankarai.

Explaining the rescue and rehabilitation work, Supraja Dharini of the Foundation said they took the assistance of Jean Beasley of Topsail Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, North Carolina, for treating the female turtle.

After being rescued, the turtle did not eat for 23 days, during which time it was fed fluids every alternate day. Later, she was fed with a variety of fresh sea feed.

The turtle that weighed 20.5 kg at rescue, gained 3.1 kg after treatment. Her carapace (shell) also grew to a length of 65 cm and width of 64.2 cm.

On Saturday, the turtle was released into the sea after being assigned a unique identification number and a flipper tag, said an official.

Lakshmi Narayan, chief wildlife warden, Tamil Nadu, and K. Geethanjali, wildlife warden, Chennai, were present when the turtle was released.

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