Caretta caretta hatchlings reach sea in Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus' Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) held an event in Alagadi Turtle Beach – designated as a special environment protection area where sea turtles reproduce – and helped caretta caretta and green turtle hatchlings to get in the sea.
Robin Snape, a member of SPOT's board of directors, said the island of Cyprus was an important location for green turtles as 30% of them laid eggs there, whereas this figure was around 10% for caretta caretta turtles which he said was more common in Turkey.
According to Snape, the turtles are done with laying eggs as of August and they migrate in search of food but the baby turtles begin hatching in the first two weeks of July and they would help babies reach the sea.
It takes at least 20 years for little turtles to grow fully, Snape said, adding their shell would be as long as 60 to 80 centimeters when they were
grown, and these turtles would eventually return to the shores they hatched.
Noting that fishing activities along with plastics and other elements negatively affected the turtles' lives, Snape welcomed the TRNC's Ministry of Culture and Environment for the implementation of regulations for the protection of sea animals.
Meryem Özkan, project officer for the protection of sea turtles, said certain spawning grounds were of more importance as these beaches were not damaged by any means and designated as special environmental protection areas, also noting that Alagadi beach was exemplary in this sense as it was not used after 20.00 p.m.
Özkan said the protection project has led to great success as the number of reproduction grounds jumped from 30-40 to around 400 today.
A British citizen, Suhail Mirza, was among those watching the event and said the SPOT played a significant role in protecting the vulnerable turtles and the children participants learned a great deal by monitoring the process.