Tourists have obstructed sea turtles from laying eggs along the coast of Costa Rica by wading into the water as they reached the shore.
The incident, taking place at Ostional Wildlife Refuge, occurred during the annual wildlife phenomenon 'Arribada', when an estimated 5,000 of the reptiles lay their eggs on the beach.
Workers from the Ministry of Environment and Energy posted pictures on its Facebook page showing hundreds of onlookers crowding the scene.
The tourists' actions caused many of the creatures to return to the sea without laying their eggs on a beach on the Pacific coast
In one picture a woman can be seen standing on top of one of the reptiles, laughing gleefully.
Other images show hundreds of people standing in their way as they try to complete their journey.
The behaviour caused many of the creatures to return to the sea without laying their eggs.
The Tico Times reported that refuge administrator Carlos Hernandez said he had never seen that many people at the beach, and that some visitors had entered through unauthorised access points.
The species, named olive ridley sea turtles, are currently listed as an endangered species.
According to the National Geographic, the worldwide population of nesting females sits at around 800,000, but its numbers, particularly in the western Atlantic, have declined precipitously.
The United States lists the western Atlantic population of olive ridleys as endangered and all other populations as threatened.