The coastal city of Laigueglia hosted the third-ever registered nesting-event of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Ligurian region. During the night between the 19th and 20th of June, around 45 minutes past midnight, a security guard noticed an individual of sea turtle on the seashore of Bagni Diana, digging a hole in the sand to lay its eggs.

After the turtle finished laying its eggs, which took around four hours, and made its way back to the sea, the coast guard officers delimited the nesting area. Meanwhile, Mr. Mimmo Giraldi, a local beach operator, was contacted, along with our Association, which have been actively involved in this field. We collaborate with the Ligurian Group of Sea Turtles (GLIT) and its members, including experts from the Genoa Aquarium, the Regional Environmental Agency, the University of Genoa, the Institute for Biodiversity and the Sea, DISTAV, and the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institutes of Piemonte, Liguria, and Valle d’Aosta.
The primary aims of these teams are to study the nesting events of this species, raise awareness through outreach initiatives, and ensure the implementation of proper conservation management procedures.

This morning, marine biologists from the Genoa Aquarium, along with the coordinators from GLIT and ARPAL, visited the nest. In collaboration with our Association “Delfini del Ponente,” they first verified the nest’s location, which was 7.5 meters from the seashore. They then confirmed the presence of eggs, placed a data logger to monitor the sand temperature, and collected a sand sediment sample. Additionally, we conducted outreach initiatives involving all relevant parties, including the beach operators, the municipality – represented by Mayor Alessandro Chirivì – the councillor of communication, tourism, and culture, and the public.

Caretta caretta

The species Caretta caretta, characteristic of temperate regions, nest during the summer season. The eggs are laid at the beginning of the season and usually hatch after about 40 to 60 days, depending on the temperature of the sand. At birth, the hatchlings measure about 5cm in length and weigh on average 10-20g.

Females reach sexual maturity between 15 and 25 years old and approach the coast exclusively to lay their eggs, generally on the beach where they were originally born. Hatching events typically occur during the night, although sometimes the young turtles emerge from the sand even during peak daylight.

Previously in Liguria, only two other nesting events were recorded. The first occurred in Finale Ligure in September 2021, on Castelletto Beach in San Donato, where three small loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) were found after hatching. The second event took place in Levanto, on a public beach, where three people around 3 AM witnessed a sea turtle coming ashore. After alerting a few security guards, they observed the turtle laying its eggs. In this case, the GLIT group, in cooperation with the municipality of Levanto, the police, the 5 Terre National Park, and the association Life on the Sea ONLUS, protected the nest by marking it off, monitoring, and managing it. In late September, experts opened the nest to analyse the eggs, which were found to be unfertilised.

loggerhead nest