115,000 baby caretta carettas make it to sea in Turkey: Report
Musa Kesler – ISTANBUL
Some 115,000 baby caretta caretta (loggerhead) sea turtles made it to the sea in Turkey this summer, according to a report released by the Environment Ministry.
Experts have analyzed five special nesting areas of these species in the country, as part of a project run by the directorate-general for preservation of natural heritage under the ministry. They said in a report that 120,000 baby caretta carettas hatched out of these nets, out of which 115,000 reached the sea.
Prof. Dr. Yakup Kaska, manager of the project, said about 0.1 percent of these 115,000 sea turtles will return to these beaches – where they themselves hatched – to lay their eggs in 25 years’ time.
“Of these babies [that hatched out of these nests], some 98-99 percent reached to the sea. So, approximately 115,000 babies are in the sea. According to the scientific analysis in this field, only one out of 1,000 babies can come back to the beach where they themselves hatched to become a mother in 25 years’ time. Therefore, in light of this analysis, we can estimate that 25 years later approximately 120 mother turtles will come back. This is a very successful result compared to world standards. And the reason of the success is meticulous works in the project,” said Kaska.
Sea turtles lay their eggs on certain beaches only. Their breeding season is between May 1 to Oct. 1. They lay approximately 100 eggs in each nest they dig in the breeding season. Then they hide their eggs with sand and return to the sea.
Females reach adulthood at around 20-25 years and find their way to the beaches that they have hatched out of. In short, they return to the same beaches to breed. The eggs hatch out two months later.
On their way into the sea, young turtles struggle with their predators at night. If they can escape from them, they reach the sea within 10-15 minutes.
The experts that prepared the relevant report on the caretta carettas are from the Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER). The center was established in 2009 in the town of Dalyan in the Aegean province of Muğla.
It is run by a team from Pamukkale University and helps dozens of sea turtles every year.
According to the report prepared by the DEKAMER specialists, 6,283 baby caretta carettas hatched out of 104 nests in the Fethiye-Göcek Special Environmental Protection Area; 30,000 hatched out of the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area; 70,000 hatched out of 2,120 nests in the Belek Special Environmental Protection Area; 4,039 hatched out of 94 nests in the Göksu Delta Special Environmental Protection Area and 17,421 hatched out of 286 nests in the Patara Special Environmental Protection Area.