Loggerhead hatchlings have made their appearance on Greek nesting beaches!
The first hatchlings of 2022 in Zakynthos and Kyparissia bay were reported on the same day! Soon after the ARCHELON researchers/ volunteers completed the respective morning surveys of the 18th of July, we heard the news that the first hatchlings were seen on Sekania beach of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and in the Nature Protection Area of Kyparissia bay. These two nesting areas host the largest reproductive populations of the loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean.
On the 24th of July, the Messara project reported the first hatchlings on Crete, which hosts the third largest reproductive population of the species in Greece. Lakonikos bay followed on the 26th of July, announcing the first hatchling traces from a predated nest in Mavrovouni beach.
Turn off the lights on nesting beaches!
“We are now escalating our efforts to eliminate the disorientation of hatchlings due to artificial lights and this brings about new tasks for the volunteers participating in the projects”, say Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON. The hatchlings are attracted by public and private lights present in several parts of the nesting beaches and, instead of heading towards their natural destination, the sea, they get lost and trapped in bushes, ditches, coastal roads and beach bars and die mostly of dehydration and exhaustion.
There are legislative provisions in place which call for elimination of photo-pollution in sea turtle nesting beaches. The project officers of ARCHELON request the engagement of competent authorities and businesses operating on this subject every year. “However, the measures are not implemented adequately in many locations. We need a more positive response on this issue, as we continue receiving desperate calls from citizens asking us to help disorientated hatchlings, which, actually, have quite reduced possibilities of surviving”, Thomas, continues.
Did you find a nest or hatchlings on the beach?
The ARCHELON volunteer conservation projects monitor sea turtle nesting in a total of 75km of beaches in Greece, every year since 1984. Sporadic nesting of loggerheads is also recorded in other locations of the Greek coastline with the help of citizens through the website www.archelon.gr.
“A close collaboration with local teams has been developed in a couple of areas, such as with the “Toulipa Goulimi” Association, who monitor the beaches in south east Lakonia under our supervision. The sporadic nest records are important for understanding the population dynamics of sea turtles, also in the face of climate change” adds the President of ARCHELON.
How can you help? Visit us!
Meet with ARCHELON volunteers in Laganas bay & Zakynthos town, Kyparissia Bay (Kalo Nero & Agiannakis Environmental Station), Koroni town in Messinia, Lakonikos Bay (Mavrovouni), Rethymno (Old harbor), Chania (Old harbor)and Messara bay (Matala) as well as at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada, near Athens.
You can find more info on the website: www.archelon.gr