The nesting site where baby turtles are expected to hatch from their eggs and make their way out to the Mediterranean sea is seen at Torvaianica beach, near Rome, Italy, on August 21, 2020. (REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane)
A loggerhead sea turtle has buried its eggs in the sands of a popular beach near Rome, the first time one has traveled this far north up the Italian peninsula to hatch its offspring.
Beach-goers have been gathering around the fence of a marked-off area waiting for the baby turtles to emerge.
The loggerhead sea turtles are endangered species that live in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.
They usually nest in southern Italy but since 2016 they have gradually made their way up through the peninsula.
"We learned that no turtles have ever laid eggs here, so this is a new nesting site," TartaLazio environmental expert Elena Santini told Reuters on the beach of Torvaianica.
Santini said the turtles' choice to move north was mainly due to rising sea temperatures. There was no direct evidence of a relationship between their presence on the beach, south of Rome, and the quietness during the COVID-19 lockdown, she said.
Over the night of June 22 and morning of June 23, Daniele Masano, a member of the Italian coast guard, filmed the moment when the turtle came to the beach to lay and bury its eggs.
The eggs could number up 100 and are expected to hatch after about 50 days and beach-goers are eager to see the baby turtles.
"We come here every day, we hope it's the right day and that the eggs hatch, at least we can see the baby turtles," Rome resident Elena Bondi said.
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