Endangered baby sea turtles hatch at Turkish beach

Endangered baby sea turtles hatch at Turkish beach

MUĞLA/ANTALYA-Anadolu Agency
Endangered baby sea turtles hatch at Turkish beach

The first batch of native baby turtles hatched on July 24 at a protected beach of Turkey's Aegean coast.

The Caretta caretta loggerhead turtle hatchlings crawled into the sea from the İztuzu beach in Muğla province, which is an important nesting area for this endangered species.

Yakup Kaska, head of the Muğla-based Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER), told Anadolu Agency that the beach is shared by both tourists and turtles.

“Tourists can use the beach between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and it is reserved for the turtles at night," he said.

"This beautiful initiative can be replicated at sea turtle nesting spots across the world," he added.

There are 21 Caretta caretta nesting spots in the Aegean province of Muğla and the Mediterranean provinces of Antalya, Mersin, Adana, and Hatay.

These turtles build a 20- to 24-inch deep nest on the beach.

After a 45-65-day incubation period, hatchlings try to reach the sea by following the moonlight, but artificial light often confuses them making them lose their way and die.

Wildlife workers build cages around the nests to mark them and as a warning to tourists. Beaches with nests are closed after dark.

Caretta carettas have also started hatching in Çıralı beach located in Turkey's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

Hüseyin Karameşe, governor of Kemer district, said that at least 85 babies have hatched.

Mother turtles laid eggs two months ago along the 3.5 kilometers (2.17 miles) of the shore, he added.

“No one is allowed to enter the beach after 9:00 p.m. Officers also check the nests during the night until sunrise," he concluded.