Loggerheads, green sea turtles start laying eggs in Hatay

Endangered marine species loggerhead turtles, also known as Caretta Carettas and green sea turtles, have been coming ashore at Hatay coasts to lay eggs for the past two days.

Loggerheads, green sea turtles start laying eggs in Hatay

Endangered marine species loggerhead turtles, also known as Caretta Carettas and green sea turtles, have been coming ashore at Hatay coasts to lay eggs for the past two days, and volunteers have been flocking to the beaches to make sure that the maximum possible number of hatchlings make it back to sea.

The sea turtles are arriving at the shores of Samandağ, a district of Hatay, which has a 14 kilometer-long coast. The turtles dig nests and lay eggs at night and volunteer students from several universities have been in Samandağ to observe the turtles for the past few days.

Turtle researcher Bektaş Sönmez of the Samandağ District Governor's Office Scientific Research Center, in a statement he made to the press about the turtles, said his office would be on duty at this time when the turtles come to lay eggs along with the support of the Samandağ Municipality, the local Nature Conservation and National Parks Directorate and the Samandağ Environmental Protection and Tourism Association. Bektaş said they have so far identified 450 nests. “Two nests are loggerhead nests, the others are chelonian mydas [green sea turtles]. One sea turtle lays between 100 and 200 eggs, and about 75 percent of these eggs produce hatchlings. And about 75 percent of those hatchlings reach the sea.”

He said coastal erosion at Samandağ beaches constituted a major threat to the nests. And predators such as jackals or foxes often destroyed nests. An additional threat that interferes with the hatchlings' perilous trip to the sea is the possibility of them walking the wrong way. They are easily tricked into taking artificial light for moonlight, especially in areas where there are well-lit settlements behind the beach. “As part of our work this year we are placing cages over the nests to fend off dog or fox intervention. We have also placed about 80 cages under the sand. We aim to increase the number of individual hatchlings that stay alive this way. In case of nests that are too near the coast and under threat of submergence, we move those nests to safer areas in a very controlled way.”

Sönmez said the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Turkey is one of the donors to the project. In addition to measures that seek to prevent the destruction of nests by other wildlife species, conservation efforts include cleaning up of the beaches and sand conservation.

Another important beach for sea turtles in Turkey is the İztuzu Beach at Dalyan, a small holiday resort town sitting on the shore of Lake Köyceğiz. It is one of the last nesting places on the Mediterranean for Caretta Carettas. Egg laying season there is in May and June. The eggs hatch between July and September, the temperature of the nests dictating the gender of the hatchlings. Once hatched, the baby turtles make their way towards the sea, drawn by the shimmer of the moon on its surface. Planned hotels in the area had been canceled as artificial light is often misdirecting for the hatchlings.

Cihan

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2013, 10:16
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