ARCHELON meets with the loggerheads while taking up special protection against COVID19
Two loggerhead nests marked the start of this year's ARCHELON counts in Zakynthos, both recorded on May 26, in collaboration with the staff of the National Marine Park, one located in Gerakas and one in Sekania, both recorded on May 26. A bit further to the east, in south Kyparissia bay, the team located twelve nests, from May 16 until today. So far, Vounaki in Kyparissia Bay is the champion with 5 nests found yesterday morning. And this is just the beginning! The average number of nests in these 2 areas in total is about 2000 per year.
The members of the currently small ARCHELON teams in Zakynthos and Kyparissia bay are "turtlers" with several years of experience and relevant studies. Their participation helped the project overcome the effects of travel restrictions from abroad due to coronavirus and the forced cancellation of the participation of several volunteers. The teams will be gradually enforced by more researchers / volunteers, while continuing to protect themselves and others from COVID19 in the base camp and during their activities. We maintain the appropriate social distances, take special hygiene measures, use special trash cans etc.
As the nesting season progresses, we are reminded that in these two areas, Greece has taken up environmental protection measures for keeping nature intact in the coastal zone behind the turtle nesting beaches. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos was established in 1999 and the Nature Protection Area of Kyparissia was established in 2018. In all sea turtles nesting habitats in Greece there are legal provisions for their conservation, when granting permits for the use of the beach.
Undoubtedly there has been progress on many issues in recent years, but there have also been gaps in the effective implementation of coastal and maritime protection provisions. From time to time there have been reports of illegal constructions, illegal road openings, illegal motocross races, violations of the speed limit of boats, violations of beach furniture numbers and these reports were brought to the attention of the competent authorities.
Although we remain cautious of how this summer is going to develop, we are sharing our hope for a year different from previous ones: without sunbeds on the beach at night, with more space and less noise for turtles, without turtle harassment and collisions with speedboats, with fewer or no lights on the beaches and fewer disoriented hatchlings. We don't want to find rubbish and cigarette butts on the beach and cars/ motorcycles driving on the beach. As every year, we will seek good cooperation with the hoteliers, the other entrepreneurs and the competent authorities and bodies in order to achieve environmental protection as well as protection against the spread of COVID19! A new approach to environmental sustainability of tourism could perhaps be found.
As in all species, the future of sea turtle, depends, amongst other things, on the success of their reproduction. The reproduction activity of sea turtles in Greece is recorded by ARCHELON. From all the hatchlings that will reach the sea, a very small percentage, less than 1: 1000, will survive to adulthood and if it is female, it will return after 15-20 years to lay its eggs in the area where it hatched!
"We can live together", people and turtles, has been the central message of ARCHELON for 37 years and remains relevant. Do you want to help? We remind you of the online submission of an application for volunteer participation in the actions of ARCHELON at www.archelon.gr!
1. Morning observation in the gulf of Laganas, Zakynthos, by Galini Samlidou
2. The beach in Vounaki, Kyparissia, by Giannis Chalkias
ARCHELON Program of Zakynthos: Nikoleta Sidiropoulou, tel. 6982766371
ARCHELON Program of the Western Peloponnese: Giannis Chalkias, tel. 6932285817