Fifty sea turtle nests destroyed by construction equipment
ANTALYA – Demirören News Agency
Fifty nests of endangered loggerhead sea turtles, also known as caretta caretta, have been destroyed by construction equipment in the district of Serik in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
Construction equipment and tractors lumbered through a 1,000-meter-long beach coast in the Belek neighborhood and crushed and flattened the nests.
“We do not know if the offspring [of the sea turtles] will come out. We will know about the extent of destruction in 35-40 days’ time,” said the chair of the Ecologic Research Association (EKAD), Dr. Ali Fuat Canbolat from Ankara’s Hacettepe University.
Canbolat said the Serik municipality was responsible for the destruction, whereas municipality Mayor Enver Aputkan denied the claims.
Aputkan said that he had not given any such instructions and had already asked authorities and his personnel to find out who was responsible.
“This is also an issue that I am very sensitive about,” Aputkan said.
Canbolat said that they had experienced “similar problems” in the past and had previously warned many institutions, including Serik municipality, regarding this issue.
“But we came [here] this year, and nothing has changed. I do not understand why this is undertaken. Here is no field. Why would you flatten it out? If you want to say ‘The beach is dirty, we want to clean it,’ there is a time for that. There is a circular, the circular of protection of the sea turtles’ living space. The circular says ‘The work of cleaning of beaches in these areas should be done before the nesting season of the sea turtles.’ This means it can be done before May 15, but now it is June 15, and the sea turtles are nesting here,” Canbolat said.
The loggerhead sea turtle is considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
They are world’s largest hard-shelled turtle. They eat crabs and other sea animals for food. They can be recognized by their large, thick head and broad short neck. The adult loggerhead sea turtle weighs approximately 135 kilograms, with the largest specimens weighing in at more than 450 kilograms.
They all return to the same beach where they themselves hatched in order to lay their eggs when they reach maturity. Their ability to swim sometimes thousands of kilometers to reach their beach of origin is still a mystery.