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



    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.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    ARCHELON has been running a special hospital for sea turtles with tanks and impressive old train wagons for 30 years in Glyfada

    Turtles with IV and bandages, rehabilitation and recovery tanks, special environmental enrichment equipment, recovery greenhouses, and… renovated train wagons! The hospital for injured and sick turtles that ARCHELON has set up in the 3rd marina of Glyfada, next to the sea, is certainly something out of the ordinary.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    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.

    Read more

    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".

    Read more

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

    Read more

    Messages of love from the world turtle community!

    Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide

    Read more

    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.

    Read more
  10. OUR NEWS

    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.

    Read more
  11. OUR NEWS

    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.

    Read more
  12. OUR NEWS

    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.

    Read more
  13. OUR NEWS

    The establishment of the “Amvrakikos Alliance”

    The Alliance's vision in collaboration with the local community is to highlight the unique ecological value and the natural and cultural heritage of Amvrakikos, for the most effective management, restoration, and protection of its ecosystems and biodiversity.

    Read more
  14. OUR NEWS

    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!

    Read more
  15. OUR NEWS

    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.

    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!