A loggerhead sea turtle laid 91 eggs on a popular beach in Cervia, on Italy's popular Adriatic coast, forcing marine biologists to intervene.
Italy's stunning stretches of Adriatic coastline draw in scores of holidaymakers and sun worshipers at this time of year. But this year, tourists are being urged to take extra care while stepping through the sand.
A loggerhead sea turtle laid no fewer than 91 eggs along this shoreline in Cervia in June - just meters away from beach loungers and parasols - forcing marine biologists to intervene.
“We picked up these 91 eggs, which had been laid by the female turtle and we moved them to a new nest, which we have re-built exactly as it was originally and we have positioned the eggs in the same order in which they were laid,” explained Andrea Ferrari from the Turtles of the Adriatic Organization (TAO).
The new nest is fenced off and guarded around the clock by up to 130 volunteers.
Marine turtles have long inhabited the Adriatic Sea during the summer months.
But over the last few years, researchers have spotted more of these marine reptiles during the winter.
“Because of climate change and the increasingly warmer waters, the turtles tend to remain in our sea for longer periods of time," said Simone D’Acunto from the Centre for Habitat Protection (Cestha).
"Historically, they hang out in these wasters, because the upper Adriatic Sea is an area for nutrition, but now they stay here even during the winter season, rather than migrating to other warmer waters, as they used to do in the past,” he added.
In the second half of August, the eggs will open up and baby turtles will take their first steps towards the sea.