07/08/2023

ATTENTION! Sea turtles are not pets: Do not touch them or feed them!

The Municipality of Eastern Mani and the Port Authorities requested the assistance of ARCHELON to inform beach users in the area of Limeni, near Mani, where 35 new incidents of sea turtle attacks on sea bathers have been recorded during this summer season. These are added to the already long list of 200 such records of previous years found in the nearby Health Center in Areopolis.

What is happening in this area? “Sea turtles are not like the domesticated animals we all know. They live in the wild, usually travelling long distances at sea and meet humans rarely”, say Dimitris Fytilis, the manager of the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada Attikis. “However, in areas where a sea turtle associates human presence with food, it’s behavior changes. The turtle treats humans as well as other turtles as competitors in its feeding grounds and tries to drive them away with bites”, Dimitris continues.

So be careful! A turtle in the sea may chase you to drive you away from its habitat. Also, if it has been fed at this place by humans, it may approach you and bite you.

This is what is happening in Limeni, near Mani, where according to information, remains of marine organisms are systematically thrown into the sea to be consumed by sea turtles regularly visiting this area. It is important to know that dumping dead organisms and food scraps into the sea is considered a form of pollution and is prosecuted as a disturbance to protected species.

The knowledge about marine organisms and sharing of information can help us avoid these problems; they can also contribute to developing more respect for nature and the planet's ecosystems.

Instructions for sea bathers:

  • Do not approach sea turtles – Keep your distance
  • Avoid contact with sea turtles – Risk of injury
  • Do not feed the sea turtles – Feeding a protected species with food that is not its normal diet is a nuisance and is prohibited by law.

If you see people feeding sea turtles or throwing food waste into the sea, you can report it to the Areopolis Police Department (tel. +30 27330 51209) and/or the Gytheio Port Authorities (tel. +30 27330 22262).

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