The leatherback sea turtle is the world's largest and an endangered species

Conservationists in Ecuador have found a nest of endangered leatherback sea turtles, a whopper of a species that can weigh up to a tonne and be three meters (10 feet) long.

Also known as the lute turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), it is the world's largest of sea turtle.

The Environment Ministry said the was found in Manabi province but did not say how many eggs were in it. They should hatch in about 60 days, it said.

A protective perimeter has been set up around the nest and a thermometer was installed.

This is the third time a nest of these creatures has been found since 2015 on the coast of Ecuador.

Its status is listed as "vulnerable," and in the eastern Pacific experts say it in danger of disappearing altogether.

The leatherback lives in tropical, subtropical and subarctic waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

"If we manage to hatch these eggs, this would be a historic event because this species is very special due to its vulnerability," said Paco Castro, the Environment Ministry director in the region where the nest was found.

In the earlier finds in 2015 and 2017 the eggs in those nests did not hatch.