Turtle hatchlings surprise Ecuadorian town

Some 11,000 turtles were born in Same's province of Esmeraldas last year, but the shift to new breeding grounds indicate humans were disturbing traditional spawning, an environment official said.

"We understand that it can be because of the amount of light and infrastructure that exists in the common spawning beaches." said Joel Casanova, the director of environmental management for Atacames municipality.

The low-lit beach of Same, surrounded by holiday homes, suited the Olive Ridley turtle better for their nests, Casanova said.

The Olive Ridley is among the smallest of the world's seven species of marine turtles, usually spawning on the coasts of Central America, Ecuador and Peru.

For anyone observing the hatching, Casanova recommends not intervene with nature. Sanctions have been established to punish those who are caught stealing the turtles.

Olive Ridley turtles, found in the Americas and Asia, are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, although their numbers seem to be rising in the Pacific because of conservation measures.