TURKEY tr-national

District bans fireworks to help loggerhead sea turtles

MANAVGAT, Antalya - Anatolia News Agency | 1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM |

A municipality located in a loggerhead sea turtles’ breeding zone will ban the use of fireworks during the summer season.

A municipality located in a loggerhead sea turtles’ breeding zone will ban the use of fireworks during the summer season.

Mustafa Keçer, mayor of Kızılot municipality in Antalya’s Manavgat district, told reporters Tuesday that the municipality has increased its efforts to protect loggerhead sea turtles, or caretta caretta, a species of sea turtle that lives in the Mediterranean.

Every year, the municipality joins forces with Antalya Provincial Environment Directorate and the Hacettepe University Biology Department for projects concerning the turtles. Last year 536 of the turtles’ nests containing at least 50 eggs each were spotted, the mayor said.

"The number of nests spotted in the region increases every year,” said Keçer. “This fact proves that the district will make a great contribution to nature and ecological tourism in the near future.”

Keçer said former Kızılot Mayor Kasım Fikret Dayıoğlu banned the use of fireworks in the region after scientific research indicated the potential damage caused by the fireworks to the environment. He also said lights scare the turtles and the hatchlings.

“When loud noise is added to the lights, the turtles’ fear increases 10 times,” he said. “Since the fireworks scare the turtles, the hotels in the region will not be allowed to use fireworks during the tourist season. We have proposed that hoteliers organize balloon shows instead of loud fireworks shows.”

Keçer said the whole seven-kilometer beach in Kızılot is a breeding zone for the turtles. “We know the importance of the turtles for nature as they also contribute to tourism,” said the mayor. “Some think that the sea turtles are an obstacle for tourism, which is totally wrong.”

In the Mediterranean, loggerheads mate from late March to early June. The female nesting season is at its peak in June and July, but this depends on the nesting beach. In general, each female produces between 70 and 150 eggs, each of which is roughly the size and shape of a ping-pong ball. The average interval between nesting seasons is two to three years.

After approximately 80 days, the hatchlings emerge – usually at night when the risk of predators is lower. Because they usually follow the brightest light to the ocean's edge, artificial lights from human activity can lead the loggerheads astray.



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