Since 1983, the primary objective of ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece has been to protect the sea turtles and their habitats in Greece through monitoring and research, developing and implementing management plans, habitat restoration, raising public awareness and rehabilitating sick and injured turtles.
ARCHELON is a Partner to the UNEP/Mediterranean Action Plan, a member of the European Union for the Conservation of the Coasts (EUCC). Members of ARCHELON participate in the IUCN/Marine Turtle Specialist Group and contribute to the formulation of the international strategy for the conservation of sea turtles.
ARCHELON collaborates closely with state agencies, the local authorities, institutions, other NGOs, fishermen and local inhabitants in order to mitigate and reverse population reduction of sea turtles. We also participate and contribute in the implementation of projects co-funded by the European Union.
Our main conservation efforts include
- Monitoring, implementation of protection and management measures and public awareness in the major loggerhead nesting areas of Zakynthos, the Peloponnese (Kyparissia –Lakonikos-Koroni) and Crete.
- Operation of the Rescue Center for injured and sick sea turtles in Glyfada near Athens and of the Rescue network along the Greek coastline.
- Surveys and data collection, pilot habitat management and restoration and sea turtle conservation actions at sea.
- Public awareness and environmental education
ARCHELON’s conservation efforts rely heavily on voluntary participations and contributions to the projects. Every year over 500 volunteers from all over the world join the projects for the conservation of nesting beaches and the operation of the Rescue Centre.
- About 75 km of major nesting beaches are daily monitored by teams of volunteers every summer since 1983 (Zakynthos, Peloponnesus and Crete);
- Over 2,500 nests are protected against human threats, predation and sea inundation, every year;
- Approximately 300 sea turtles are tagged in order to monitor their movements in the sea every year. Satellite transmitters have been used recently for the same reason; Over 50 injured sea turtles are treated at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada (near Athens). every year.
- Three permanent and 10 seasonal information stations are operated by ARCHELON on Zakynthos, the Peloponnese and Crete.
- More than 100,000 tourists are directly contacted through ARCHELON's diverse programmes every year.
- Over 12,000 pupils participate every year in the educational programmes.