Caretta-caretta nesting season started in Rethymno (Crete)!

Itʼs well known that Crete hosts three very significant caretta nesting beaches in Rethymno, Chania and Messaraʼs Bay. Although these areas are critical for the Mediterranean sea and a major part of them has been included in the NATURA European network of protected areas as should, they still remain with no legal protection status facing a number of threatening to their future issues.

Creteʼs caretta nesting beaches have been downgraded enough because of the uncontrolled tourist development during the 80s and 90s. The sand dunes face destruction as they are at a large scale being rapidly eroded, and finally the beach is almost disappearing.

The large number of beach umbrellas and reclining chairs that are left on the beach at night impede the slow travel of the female turtles as they make their way up to the dune line to nest. The bright artificial lights are fatal for hatchlings as they become confused and disoriented.

At the same time, a greater threat comes from the sea, since each year many sea turtles are reported dead or injured, mainly due to inadvertent capture in fishing lines and nets.

After all, it is not that strange the number of nests in Rethymno and Chania is declining, stressing the imperative need to take all appropriate measures for their protection immediately.

The importance of the turtles laying beaches in Crete has been established beyond any doubt. ARCHELON has been working systematically in Rethymno since 1989 collecting nesting data, protecting the nests threatened and informing the public.

The field work is conducted with the permission of the competent Ministry of Agriculture and the support of the local authorities and municipalities, by trained volunteers who come particularly for this purpose from around the globe.

ARCHELON jointly with the Municipality of Arkadi reconstructed the old school building in Pagkalohori and turned it to a Nature Information Centre, hosting appropriate environmental learning programs for schools and organized groups.

Please note the sea turtles reproducing in Rethymno, Chania and in the Bay of Messara each form a particular and independent population not related to the ones of Zakynthos and Kyparissia. We were able to document this thanks to our long term tagging program.

Remarkably, marine turtles from each region, even if they make long journeys for feeding reasons up to the North Adriatic Sea and Tunisia, the adult females return back to their own hatch site to lay their own clutches of eggs.

It is important to address the threats to sea turtles and the natural habitats upon which they depend. ARCHELON has been doing exactly that for more than 25 years now. With your help we can do more.

Your support will help us ensure sea turtles are swimming free in the sea for future generations!



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    The meeting, which took place on April 5, 2024, in the building of the Regional Unit of Rethymno, touched upon key issues, such as the observance of conservation measures for the protection of the Loggerhead sea turtle. Given the tourist activity on the nesting beaches, the active participation of the tourism sector in the implementation of the measures is necessary.

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    After the pandemic, ARCHELON - the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece - is once again mobilizing on the path to sustainable tourism. The aim of the new campaign is to provide information on the appropriate code of conduct for visitors to all nesting beaches, in cooperation with the tourism sector.

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    LIFE MareNatura - The largest marine biodiversity program in Greece

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    Citizens inform us of sea turtle strandings

    ARCHELON started the effort to record the incidents of dead turtles washing up on the Greek shores in 1992. In recent years there has been an increase in these records which may be due to more of our fellow citizens reporting such incidents. Learn more…

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    Contributing to international developments on sea turtle research and conservation

    In the past, members of ARCHELON were actively involved in the elaboration of the Global Strategy for the Conservation of Marine Turtles, published in 1995, and nowadays three of our collaborators participate in the writing of the revised guidebook “Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles”.

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    The Over & Above Awards for 2023

    These are the ARCHELON Over & Above Awards for 2023.

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    The moving experience of Frederique at the Rescue Centre

    At ARCHELON, you'll have the opportunity to meet and work together with new people and form lasting friendships - a major benefit of volunteering.

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    Presentation of ARCHELON 2023 Results: Here is some good news!

    On Thursday February 15th, 2024, ARCHELON’s annual Presentation of Results took place downtown, at the Impact Hub Athens. When welcoming members, staff, collaborators, friends and volunteers, Daphne Mavrogiorgos, Director of ARCHELON, spoke about the multi-leveled action of ARCHELON during 2023.

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    Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. These vulnerable areas of the planet are a refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife species, including sea turtles. ARCHELON is present in wetlands that play an important role for sea turtles, such as the Amvrakikos Gulf.

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  10. OUR NEWS

    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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  11. OUR NEWS

    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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  12. OUR NEWS

    What happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023?

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  13. OUR NEWS

    Assuming responsibility for the environment brings more meaning into our lives

    “ARCHELON is an opportunity, not only for the animals and the ecosystems, but also for us who participate in it and for the society in which we operate”. Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of ARCHELON, talks about the efforts of the organization and about what he aspires for the future.

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  14. OUR NEWS

    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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  15. OUR NEWS

    19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe

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