A breath away from registering a new world record on the years of known active reproduction of a loggerhead sea turtle is ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece

This is the year when ARCHELON, a nonprofit environmental NGO, is celebrating 40 years of continuous and targeted action to save sea turtles in Greece and the Mediterranean. At the same time, the project team of ARCHELON on Zakynthos are ready to register the longest period of active reproduction known for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), in case it happens this year!

The "champion" turtle with code B2494 was tagged in 1986 on the island of Zakynthos by trained ARCHELON volunteers, who since then have been systematically recording every time she came ashore to lay her eggs. In the summer of 2022 this turtle was located nesting again in Zakynthos, marking 36 years of continuous nesting, equaling the world record for the species, which has been recorded for a loggerhead turtle in Florida, USA. This achievement comes to certify the reliable long-term scientific effort of ARCHELON, the nonprofit environmental NGO who systematically monitor and record important data on sea turtle nesting in Greece.

ARCHELON tagging turtle_Kostas Papafitsoros.JPG

It is known that sea turtles live for a long time but we do not know exactly how many years. We also do not know how many years they are actively reproducing. Tagging is a method of identifying and registering the turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs each year on the beach, so there is a reliable metric.

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In case the 2023 team of ARCHELON volunteers record the same turtle nesting again in Laganas Bay, Zakynthos, there will be a new world record set, highlighting the great importance of the population that is systematically monitored on the island of Zakynthos for the past 40 years.

ARCHELON has been running the tagging program with the help of trained volunteers since the early 1980s in Zakynthos and Kyparissia Bay. It works like this: two tags are placed on each turtle, so than in case one gets damaged, it can still be replaced, keeping the identity of the turtle on the basis of the second one. In the past many turtles have had both their plastic or metal tags destroyed, leading to the loss of their original identity.

In 2019, the scientific team of ARCHELON did a search of the database of tags that had been placed on turtles over the years and found some turtles that had been laying nests for over 20 years. Two of them were the "champions" with 33 years of reproductive life. In the summer of 2022, one of the "champions", with code B2494, made a nest again in Zakynthos and thus completed 36 years of nesting, equaling the world record.

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It is worth noting that the turtle B2494, like several others in Zakynthos, Kyparissia Bay and Rethymno, has now also been marked with an electronic signal (PIT tag), which is permanent and thus its identity is not lost.

Even more energized, the members and volunteers of ARCHELON from Greece and dozens of other countries, continue the tagging program in Zakynthos, Kyparissia Bay and Rethymno, hoping to witness the breaking of the world record in reproduction years, contributing to the international effort to understand the Loggerhead’s life cycle and its protection.

For more information about volunteering with ARCHELON on Zakynthos, check out this link https://archelon.gr/en/volunteer/project-areas/zakynthos-laganas-bay

To find out more about the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre and its educational activities, check out this link https://archelon.gr/en/project-areas/glyfada-sea-turtle-rescue-centre



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