08/09/2009

BABY SEA TURTLES DIE AT THE BAY OF KYPARISSIA (AGIANNAKI)

For 26 years ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society, has committed to keep on protecting the sea turtles nesting sites at the Bay of Kyparissia. The southern part of the Bay hosts the second largest population of the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta in the Mediterranean. Much to our regret that in this region one could define as the core of the sea turtle nesting, expanding from Kalonero to Elea, each year all the more frequently the results of the unauthorized coastal development are apparent.

In particular, on August 22nd an asphalt road construction connecting the Agiannaki beach to the main street was completed. Additionally there is a new-built house by this road, on the stretch of the sand dunes. These both caused the death of many baby sea turtles that emerged from their nest on that night, August 22nd trying to find the sea.

These turtle hatchlings (we counted 10 of them), drawn by the lights of the road and the premise lost their orientation; instead of navigating quickly to the sea they went to the road where they died, stuck in the tar or crushed under the road-roller.

This is more than an unfortunate event; rather it sets an alarm. It is a warning for the danger and the damage in the wildlife and the ecosystem of this area, which is supposedly, included in the EU NATURA 2000 Network- the largest coherent network of protected areas in the world. A testament to the importance of this area biodiversity and natural beauty.

The strong artificial night lighting on beaches near nesting areas (including street, residential and business lights) however harms directly the sea turtles; it often confuses newly emerged hatchling turtles which instinctively orient to the brightest light source, luring them away from the sea. Baby turtles crawl inland instead where they die of exhaustion, dehydration, and predation or are even run over by cars if they wander onto nearby roadways.

ARCHELON strives to protect this endangered species and grow awareness of the dangers this wonderful animal faces, including that of artificial light.

Every day we continue our efforts to increase the number of Authorities and communities who understand and support our mission.

Every summer thousands of hatchlings are born at the southern part of the Kyparissia Bay. Show your respect for this ancient creature. Help us minimise the damage to the ecosystems, help us protect the marine turtles. (ND/ES)

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