According to official data from the Archelon organization, an unexpectedly large number of Caretta caretta turtle nests have been recorded this year both in Greece and the entire Mediterranean basin. A total of 6,500 nests have been found and marked on 75 kilometers of spawning beaches in Greece. This number is much higher than in 2019, when 5400 nests were officially registered on exactly the same beaches. Such a good result according to Archelon gives the right to call 2020 the Year of the Sea Turtle.
According to environmental organizations, other Mediterranean countries have seen a similar increase, which is attributed to the environmental conditions prevailing in the area in recent years. According to the scientists, this increase is not related to the decreased tourist traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus, on the other hand, had an impact on the huge shortage of volunteers, mainly those from abroad, who, due to the travel ban, could not actively participate in marking nests and monitoring them on beaches.
Designation of the turtle nest on the Kalamaki beach in Crete
Unfortunately, as we know, not all turtles reach the sea after hatching. After leaving the nest, the turtles have to overcome a difficult path to the sea. From the beginning of August, Archelon has been appealing to residents, entrepreneurs and visitors to turn off the light after 23:00 on the beaches where the nests are established until the end of September. The artificial light source confuses young specimens, which instead of going towards the water, change the direction of their journey. A sad example of such a mistake is what happened the day before yesterday at Kaiafas beach ( Καιαφα ). A fire was lit on it at night, and in the morning the burned young Caretta caretta was found on the beach .