World record of 37 years of reproductive life for a loggerhead sea turtle in Zakynthos, Greece – increased number of nests this summer, says ARCHELON

ARCHELON – the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece announces an important outcome of the systematic work of this year's sea turtle nest monitoring team in Zakynthos. Based on their long-term observations, ARCHELON managed to certify a new World Record of reproductive activity for loggerhead turtles.

The lucky turtle, first spotted in Zakynthos in 1986 and given the name Gaia, was once again recorded by ARCHELON's trained researchers/volunteers nesting on Sekania beach in Zakynthos this year, thus confirming a full 37 years of reproductive activity. The previous record was set by a loggerhead turtle laying her eggs for 36 years in Florida, USA.

This important announcement by ARCHELON puts Greece at the center of global scientific data on sea turtles and certifies the long-term systematic effort of the Society, which has been active on the loggerhead nesting beaches in Greece for the last 40 years.

This lead, however, hides behind it another record, of which ARCHELON is really proud: The endless stream of thousands of volunteers, who tirelessly over the years traveled from all parts of the world to find themselves on a Greek beach to record nests and protect the turtles. It is these 15,000 Greek and foreign volunteers of ARCHELON who, for 40 years, with persistence, diligence and reliability, have been recording valuable information about sea turtles, that would otherwise remain in the dark.

This summer, ARCHELON records a high number of nests in all nesting areas in Greece. Specifically, more than 1,800 nests have been recorded in Zakynthos - less than the maximum number of nests recorded in 1995 -, more than 4,300 nests in the southern Kyparissia Bay - the largest number of nests ever recorded in the area -, around 355 nests in Lakonikos Bay, over 220 nests in Rethymno, around 300 in Chania and over 230 in Messara, Crete - the most nests recorded in the last two areas since 1995-.

2. Nεοσσοί Κυπαρισσία.jpeg

"We are certainly going through a year with high numbers of nests on all the nesting beaches throughout Greece. In fact, in some of them, such as the south Kyparissia Bay, Chania and Messara Bay in Crete, the preliminary data show all-time records" says Aliki Panagopoulou PhD, the Research Coordinator at ARCHELON. "However, we must say that the number of nests recorded each year depends on many factors, such as the quality and quantity of food in the turtle feeding grounds of the Mediterranean. There are large fluctuations in the number of nests recorded from year to year, and it takes many years for population trends to become apparent. That is why the long-term systematic recording of the reproductive activity is important, as ARCHELON has been doing for 40 years in Greece." she continues. "We are certain that the joint efforts to protect the breeding habitats both in Greece and in other Mediterranean countries, play an important role in the hopeful positive course of turtle populations in the region."

The data collected in the ARCHELON projects are transmitted every year to N.E.C.C.A., the Agency for the Natural Environment and Climate Change in Greece, contributing to the implementation of national actions for the protection of sea turtles. ARCHELON's activities in the nesting beaches are not limited to the recording and protection of nests and hatchlings, especially now, when baby turtles come out of their nests and must reach the sea safely.

"It is important that beach visitors and local businesses know how to behave on the nesting beaches and observe the protection measures, so as not to prevent nature from performing its functions", says Thanos Michailidis, responsible for the ARCHELON project in Zakynthos. "Our public awareness efforts with presentations in hotels and our collaboration with people in the tourism sector who respect the environment, will continue to spread the message of proper behavior on the loggerhead nesting beaches to tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world," he continues.

Never giving up, ARCHELON’s teams continue the effort to raise awareness in all nesting beaches, in cooperation with local authorities. They are currently informing tourists from the Information Stations in the city of Zakynthos, in Kalo Nero and Agiannakis, Kyparissia, Mavrovouni in Gytheio, in Koroni, the cities of Rethymno, Chania and in Matala. ** For more information:** Christiana Kamprogianni, Information Officer of ARCHELON

Zakynthos: Thanos Michailidis, tel 6940454976, email zakynth@archelon.gr

West Peloponnese: Michalis Souroulidis, tel 6932285817, email westpelop@archelon.gr

South Peloponnese: Alexandros Karaplis, tel 6951009785, email southpelop@archelon.gr

Crete: George Vrampas, tel 6937352379, email crete@archelon.gr

Learn more about the world record of the loggerhead turtle Gaia here

Learn more about the code of conduct at the sea turtle nesting beaches here



    World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?

    But why is tourism important to sea turtles?

    Read more

    Lilo, the tiny green turtle, made it back to the sea!

    In November 2021 a small green turtle arrived at the ARCHELON Rescue Centre with a very serious head injury. After almost two years of intensive care, one Wednesday in September 2023 he was finally discharged and returned to the sea!

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre

    Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre Lea shares her experience volunteering at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre: “I think when a turtle starts to eat after a month of trying, when you can see the improvement or healing of a turtle's injury and when a turtle is released back into the sea, into its natural habitat, into its home - then you know that you are indeed saving turtles”.

    Read more

    Kids Beach Competition 2023: Make your own little sea turtle with natural materials and send us a photo!

    Help us spread the message about the protection of sea turtles by making your own baby turtles with natural materials you will find on the beach. Sand, stones, pebbles, shells, seaweed, sticks and whatever else you have available, can be transformed with a little imagination! Take a photo of your work and send it to the ARCHELON Beach Competition.

    Read more

    Paving the way for next steps in conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean region

    Last week the partner organizations of the project “Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region” met for the 9th Steering Committee Meeting. The meeting was organized by SPA/RAC in the area of Kyparissia Bay, Greece on the 4th and 5th of July, 2023 in collaboration with ARCHELON.

    Read more

    An offer to EXPERIENCED volunteers: You can now join the beach projects for 2-3 weeks!

    The time is just right to join the projects again, even if you have only 2 or 3 weeks of available time. This offer is valid for August, September, October 2023. Apply through our new website and find out more about the dates and places you can join. More…

    Read more

    The nesting season has begun! Learn what you can do if you find sea turtle tracks or nests on the beach

    The nesting season for the loggerhead sea turtles has begun. The nests that are made in the areas monitored by ARCHELON and other collaborating groups are already being recorded. However, if you find tracks or nests on other beaches, you can also participate in the effort to record and protect these sporadic nests. Find out why it's important…

    Read more

    A breath away from registering a new world record on the years of known active reproduction of a loggerhead sea turtle is ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece

    This is the year when ARCHELON, a nonprofit environmental NGO, is celebrating 40 years of continuous and targeted action to save sea turtles in Greece and the Mediterranean. At the same time, the project teams of ARCHELON are ready to register the longest period of active reproduction known for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), in case it happens this year!

    Read more
  10. OUR NEWS

    A Saturday unlike any other - Turtle Festival 2023

    ARCHELON invites kids and adults to celebrate the environment and the sea in an exciting way at the "Sea Turtle Festival" on Saturday, May 27 at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in the 3rd Marina of Glyfada.

    Read more
  11. OUR NEWS

    Announcement for all past volunteers of ARCHELON: Shall we meet this September?

    Highlight: Hi everyone! This year marks 40 years of ARCHELON’s action for protecting sea turtles in Greece. During these four decades, thousands of volunteers from many countries joined our sea turtle projects and the Rescue Centre to help save the turtles. Let’s meet again this coming September and celebrate the animals we saved during all these years.

    Read more
  12. OUR NEWS

    Waiting list for schools that want to visit the ARCHELON Rescue Centre

    Thousands of Greek students visit the Centre and get informed about the value of protecting the environment through contact with a particularly beloved animal, the sea turtle. "All the available visiting hours until the end of the 2022-2023 school year have been booked, but there is a waiting list that is activated in case of cancellations", says Anna Kontoleon, ARCHELON’s Education Officer. More hours for online tours may be added in May if volunteers become available.

    Read more
  13. OUR NEWS

    People are supporting wildlife conservation

    The donations and "adoptions" made at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada, Attica and at ARCHELON’s field projects in Zakynthos, the Peloponnese and Crete in 2022, reached the amount of €350,000. We did a lot last year thanks to all these people, who also made it possible for us to continue this year.

    Read more
  14. OUR NEWS

    Gail Schofield

    We learned with deep sadness the passing away of Gail Schofield, a pronounced sea turtle researcher and former ARCHELON volunteer. Read more…

    Read more
  15. OUR NEWS

    More than half of the rehabilitated sea turtles got released back to the sea in 2022!

    The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada rescues, takes care of and rehabilitates injured sea turtles from all parts of Greece since 1994. More than half of the sea turtles that were under care at the Rescue Centre in 2022 got released back to the sea after reaching full recovery this year! Read more…

    Read more
1 out of 0
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Learn about our latest actions and find out about our programs and how you can help sea turtles!