Nighttime crowds are gathering on an island in southern Japan to observe loggerhead sea turtles coming ashore to lay eggs.
From June to August, hundreds of turtles will hit beaches on Amami-Oshima island, Kagoshima Prefecture, to dig burrows.
On a recent evening, children sat in near-silence on the Ankyaba coast in the town of Tatsugo to watch a turtle use its flippers to dig a hole in the sand. It deposited around 100 eggs, each the size of a pingpong ball.
The turtle weighed about 90 kilograms and its shell measured 81 centimeters.
The children squealed that the turtle was "cute" and encouraged it to, "Hang in there."
With its ragged coastline and inaccessible beaches, Amami-Oshima probably plays host to countless turtles, but no one knows how many.
However, researchers and local residents have teamed up to expand survey areas. They said they expect to confirm at least 1,000 turtle sightings this season.
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