Global warming forcing turtles to change migration routes: Official
With loggerhead turtles being vulnerable to atmospheric and oceanographic shifts associated with climate change, they have been under the close watch of Turkish authorities as their seasonal marine habitat may shift in response to global warming.
Sea turtles with transmitters attached to them are being followed by authorities but their routes seem to have changed due to global warming, Environment and Urbanization Deputy Minister Mehmet Emin Birpınar noted.
Stating that tracking devices were placed on 20 sea turtles in the last two years, the official said that the movements of these animals were monitored and that how they move according to the temperature of the water was closely observed.
“A turtle named ‘Tuba,’ which we released into the sea two years ago, went to the Adriatic Sea. Normally it shouldn’t go that far north,” the senior official said, stressing that this situation shows that the Mediterranean Sea was warming and that the sea temperature was also increasing.
Birpınar noted that new conditions might arise threatening the marine habitat if this warming could not be prevented.
“If we can’t prevent this warming, then other species will come here. They will begin to exterminate species here. Blowfish come from the Red Sea and hunt for species in the Mediterranean,” Birpınar said.
He noted that the environmental issue knows no borders.
Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts house more than 20 nesting areas of the endangered loggerhead turtle species. Çıralı and İztuzu, the country’s two famous beaches, are among the primary breeding grounds for the turtles.
Some 500,000 baby sea turtles are believed to have reached the sea from the Turkish beaches just this year, however, it is known that a vast majority of them cannot survive, falling prey to fish.