An unexpectedly high number of loggerhead nests in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean makes 2020 stand out as the Year of the Sea Turtle
Is 2020 the year of loggerhead sea turtles? The nests of this protected sea turtle species that were recorded this year by ARCHELON in 75km. of the main nesting beaches in Greece amount to 6,500, a number dramatically higher than the 5,400 nests recorded last year on the same beaches. There has been a similar increase in other countries as well, which is attributed to the environmental conditions that prevailed in the Mediterranean in previous years, and has nothing to do with the quarantine and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in general.
The coronavirus, however, resulted in a large shortage of ARCHELON volunteers this year, mainly those from abroad who could not travel, but we managed to carry out monitoring and protection of the reproduction of loggerheads in 75 km of nesting beaches in Greece. Dedicated volunteers helped in all areas, most of them residents in Greece, as well as the staff and members of ARCHELON, who carried out this difficult mission by forming small groups.
These 75km of nesting beaches include the beaches in Laganas bay, where ARCHELON collaborates with the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, the southern part of Kyparissia bay , the area of Kotychi lagoon, the beaches of Romanos Messinias, Lakonikos bay, as well as Rethymno, Chania and Messara bay in Crete.
About 6,500 nests have been recorded in these 75 kilometers of beaches, to date. These are preliminary data of course, as, there is a crosscheck during the hatching period we are going through now, in order to have the final number and to compare it with previous years. Nevertheless, even the preliminary data show that in 2020 we had a significant increase in nests compared to 2019, where ARCHELON had recorded about 5,400 nests on the same beaches. From our contacts with programs in other Mediterranean countries, we have learned that there has been a similar increase in other countries, the causes of which must be sought in the environmental conditions that have prevailed in recent years in the habitats of sea turtles throughout the Mediterranean.
Less than 100 researchers / volunteers are participating this year in ARCHELON’s monitoring and protection of nests and the effort of their small groups of in the field is still going on. How many baby turtles will hatch this year? This will be determined after the nests hatch and the data on the number of hatchlings that came out of the nests are collected and processed.
However, as is well known, not all hatchlings reach the sea. As soon as they come out of the nests, they have to complete a difficult and dangerous route, where they have to deal not only with various predators but also with the light pollution that characterizes most nesting beaches. On these beaches, a huge effort is made by the researchers and volunteers of ARCHELON to save the hatchlings that are disoriented by the lights.
We thank the dozens of friends who contact us to help hatchlings from sporadic nests on the beaches of the Aegean, the Ionian and the rest of coastal Greece. Happy autumn to all of you!
Information on nest protection, volunteering and the adoption program of ARCHELON can be found on our website www.archelon.gr.
The Green Fund co-financed the Zakynthos project for the first time
Lockdown measures eased the egg-laying of sea turtles in Greece but didn’t cause the observed increase of their nests
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Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance
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Why are ARCHELON’s projects international?
ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation projects are organized with the valuable contribution of volunteers who come to Greece every year not just from Europe but from more distant places such as South Korea, Australia, and Colombia. Speaking English while carrying out fieldwork or public awareness activities as well as when interacting with each other in the campsites is essential to the projects.
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ARCHELON has been running a special hospital for sea turtles with tanks and impressive old train wagons for 30 years in Glyfada
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What happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023?
A world record for reproductive life for a sea turtle and 40 years of ARCHELON’s actions for protecting sea turtles are some of the moments we celebrated together this year. So, what happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023? Here are some highlights of the past year.
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Assuming responsibility for the environment brings more meaning into our lives
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- OUR NEWS20/12/2023
Forty years later: the world of ARCHELON has expanded
Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of the Association gives the current coordinates of ARCHELON. "We encounter many turtles in our daily activities, and even more people, many more people actually, who help us. Amongst them are the people who work for us, they stand out for they represent the Association out there, through thick and thin".
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19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe
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Messages of love from the world turtle community!
Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide
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When the past becomes a lighthouse for the future
Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON and one of its founding members talks about the quality and values, and the people who marked the setting up and subsequent action of ARCHELON. “Dimitris Margaritoulis taught us, not only the methodology for monitoring and protecting them, but also what it means to organize tasks, take responsibility, work as a team, evaluate our course and cooperate with each other”, he says.
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Notes of a volunteer (Part 2): Ηead trauma happens more often and is more serious than you think
Jessica Van Damme who volunteered at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre for 6 weeks in 2023, talks about what she learned while taking care of sea turtles with human caused injuries.
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Notes of a volunteer (Part 1): Jessica Van Damme was at the Rescue Centre
“During my 6-week stay, there were more than 30 injured sea turtles being treated at the Rescue Centre. Seven of them were successfully released, but, during the same period there were five new arrivals – all turtles with human-caused injuries. We, humans, are their biggest threat!”, writes Jessica.
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Summer 2024: Come back to sea turtle conservation as a leader!
Joining or returning to ARCHELON’s sea turtle projects as a Field Leader will give you the opportunity to lead specific activities as well as train and help others in the projects. These positions provide a higher level of experience in nature conservation/ environment protection, as well as improved communication and leadership skills. Hurry and apply now! Only a limited number of experienced and skilled volunteers are selected to serve as leaders in each project.
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The establishment of the “Amvrakikos Alliance”
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Kids Beach Competition 2023: Turtles made of natural materials that stole our hearts!
The little friends of ARCHELON who participated in the Kids Beach Competition 2023 formed turtles from pebbles, sand, water, rocks, sticks, leaves and shells, spreading the message of protecting sea turtles on the various beaches of Greece. Angeliki's (7 years old) little turtle on top of the big rock stole 694 hearts and became the winner!
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The Field Leaders of 2023 and their role
Matthew from the UK, Noha from France, David from the Netherlands, Aris from Greece started one summer as volunteers knowing little about turtles and their protection. Their experience made them return to the conservation projects as Field Leaders to take on more responsibilities, as trainers and mentors for new volunteers.