Loggerhead Tuba sets sail to Mediterranean again
Musa Kesler – ISTANBUL
A caretta caretta sea turtle being monitored via a transmitter has set sail to the Mediterranean from Anatolia for the second time in four months, probably for a longer journey towards Africa.
Tuba, a 25-year-old loggerhead turtle, was found wounded and treated by the Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER) at the İztuzu beach in the southwestern Muğla province in August.
With a tracking device put on her, she was bid godspeed by a crowd on the beach. However, after swimming 200 kilometers away to the Greek island of Rhodes, she returned to Cennet Island near Muğla’s resort town of Marmaris a month later.
According to the latest tracking data, she set sail again from Muğla after staying there for another four months.
“As the sea water [in Turkey] cooled, Tuba has moved towards warmer waters. Currently, she is around the Greek shores,” said DEKAMER executive and zoologist Yakup Kaska.
“We expect her to move inwards the Mediterranean Sea. Her course shows that she will spend the winter on the shores of Libya or Tunis. We’ll continue to track and see. We are very curious,” he added.
At least 360 sea turtles, mostly caretta carettas, were given medical treatment at DEKAMER with the assistance of the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.
Important nesting areas
There are 21 caretta caretta nesting spots in the Aegean province of Muğla and the Mediterranean provinces of Antalya, Mersin, Adana and Hatay.
The first batch of native baby turtles hatched on July 24 at the protected İztuzu beach of the Aegean coast, which is an important nesting area for this endangered species.
About 4,350 loggerhead turtle hatchlings have managed to crawl into the Mediterranean Sea from Çıralı beach area in the province of Antalya between May and September, according to a report by an environmental organization, which has made serious warnings about the future of the world’s largest hard-shelled turtle.
Some 3,650 baby turtles on the Çıralı beach and nearly 700 others at nearby coves hatched and crawled into the sea, said the Ulupınar Environmental Protection, Development and Operation Cooperative in its annual report.