The Green Fund co-financed the Zakynthos project for the first time
Restrictions on international travel and measures to prevent the spread of COVID19 have resulted in the cancellation of the participation of most volunteers in ARCHELON’s summer projects of this year. Despite this great difficulty, we decided to proceed with the monitoring and protection of the nests in Zakynthos, making the necessary changes in our mode of operations in order to meet all restrictions. From the outset however, it was certain that self-financing of ARCHELON's activities would not be possible. That is why we submitted an application for financing to the Green Fund of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, which was approved.
Thus, the monitoring and protection of loggerhead nests in Zakynthos was carried out by the permanent and seasonal research staff of ARCHELON residing in Greece, who cooperated daily with the guards of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. The participation of a few and experienced volunteers began as soon as the safety measures against coronavirus allowed it. They arrived in Zakynthos mainly from other parts of Greece, France, the UK, Germany, Austria, and supported the core research team. "A total of 35 volunteers have participated so far. By keeping the number of researchers / volunteers in the field low and observing all the protection measures, we managed to keep the project COVID-free ", says Nikoletta Sidiropoulou, marine biologist and the Zakynthos Project officer of ARCHELON.
“There is more to this year’s story, though: on September 18-19, the Mediterranean cyclone IANOS passed by Laganas bay. Although the majority of nests in Zakynthos had already hatched, a number of the remaining nests has been affected. The high waves of the cyclone covered the rather narrow nesting beaches from 70-80% up to 100% in a few places. As can be seen in the photos, some sea turtle nests were completely or partially swept away by the waves or remained flooded for a few days by sea water, resulting in their destruction. The good news are that, from September 20 onwards, a few more nests have hatched and we are still monitoring the beaches", adds Nicoletta.
ARCHELON’s Research Station in Zakynthos will close down in two weeks, having completed its mission for one more summer. This is the 37th year that the reproductive activity of loggerhead sea turtle is monitored in Zakynthos, keeping ARCHELON’s project in the top list of the longest-running projects for the species worldwide.
The project “Monitoring and protection of nests of the loggerhead ( Caretta caretta) in Zakynthos during the 2020 reproductive season” implemented by ARCHELON is part of the Funding Program of the Green Fund “Natural Environment and Innovative actions 2020”, Priority Line 4- Other actions, with Budget € 45.000 and Funding from the Green Fund.