Cemetery set up for sea turtles in Turkey’s west

Cemetery set up for sea turtles in Turkey’s west

Cemetery set up for sea turtles in Turkey’s west

A cemetery has been set up for sea turtles (caretta carettas) in the western province of Muğla by a research center.

The Sea Turtles Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER) have started an initiative for sea turtles, listed as endangered species, which have died.

The center has converted a one decare area next to its building into a cemetery for the sea turtles.

Ayfer Şirin, the project assistant of DEKAMER, said 65 percent of the sea turtles taken under treatment in the center were later released into nature.

She said they could not rescue some sea turtles and buried them in the cemetery after autopsies and checkups.

The Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry had issued warnings to businesses active in 21 areas where sea turtles nest in Turkey, asking them to follow rules when laying out sunbeds and umbrellas and to turn off their lights at night during spawning season.

Meanwhile, the governor of the southern province of Antalya had issued a call for the protection of four endangered species inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea, including sea turtles.

Professor Mehmet Cengiz Deval of Akdeniz University’s Faculty of Fisheries told Doğan News Agency that the sea turtles were listed as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“There are five species of sea turtles in the Mediterranean Sea but only the loggerhead sea turtle and the green sea turtle [Chelonia mydas] nest on Turkish beaches,” said Deval.

“It is estimated that 40 percent of the caretta carettas and all of the green sea turtles nest on Turkey’s beaches. Seventy percent of caretta caretta nests are in Antalya and 99 percent of green sea turtle nests are on the eastern Mediterranean coast and on the beaches of the southern provinces of Mersin and Hatay,” Deval added.