29/08/2022

A local group protects loggerhead sea turtle nests in Sitia, southeastern Crete

The local volunteer group in Sitia was very excited to record the first hatching of a sea turtle nest at Karavopetra beach on the 4th of August, 2022. The group has been active in carrying out nest recording and protection for the past 13 years under the supervision of ARCHELON. The hatched nest is one of the loggerhead sporadic nests made in the extensive Greek coastline, which are important for the study of sea turtle populations, specifically in the face of climate change.

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As soon as the nest hatched, the group has actively sought cooperation with the local authorities. The Municipality covered public lights on the beach to eliminate photo pollution, there was no access to cars and motorcycles on the beach and beach furniture has been removed every night, making vital space to these ancient marine creatures. Volunteers stayed up until 6am to make sure that hatchlings would safely find the way by themselves to the sea. A few of them got disorientated by the lights, but despite the difficulties, a total of 84 hatchlings made it to the sea.

This particular nest was excavated on the 16th of August in collaboration with Lydia Koutrouditsou, biologist and project manager of ARCHELON for Crete. Excavations are always carried out by experienced people after the hatching has been concluded, according to international protocols. Whenever possible, excavations are organized as public events in order to enhance the environmental awareness of kids and grownups alike, without disturbing the animals.

What did we find out about the excavated nest? “We calculated the hatching success, as the turtle had laid 122 eggs in the nest, of which 104 hatched” said Lydia. “It was the first nest ever to be excavated in Sitia and we were honored to have the Mayor of Sitia amongst the observers. People here have observed several traces of sea turtles on the beaches this summer, so everyone is expecting more nests to be hatching soon” she added.

The conservation volunteer projects of ARCHELON monitor sea turtle reproduction, by surveying a total of 75km of nesting beaches in Greece, every summer. In addition, sporadic nesting is recorded in other beaches of the Greek coastline with the help of citizens who communicate via our website www.archelon.gr.

You can find the Information Stations of ARCHELON on Crete from May to September in Rethymno (near the Light house of the Old harbor), Chania (at the Old harbor), Messara bay (Matala village).

You can visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON which runs all year round at the 3rd marine in Glyfada near Athens with the support of the Municipality of Glyfada.

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