Environment protection

SPOT ask how successful was sea turtles conservation in the TRNC

The Turtles Conservation Project has been protecting the coastal nests every summer since 1992. It is a work that has been contributed to by hundreds of people. Thousands of people have visited our country to protect these creatures that breed on our island from all over the world. It’s easy to say, it’s been almost 30 years. But what good has so much effort and so much work done?

We decided to make an assessment on this issue. We compared the number of nests on 28 different beaches between 1993 and 2019.

We saw that the number of green turtles increased by 162%, while the number of Caretta increased by 46%.

Although it is pleasing to observe the residuals of their numbers, we are concerned about why the Caretta numbers have increased much less.

The research team, consisting of scientists from the SPOT Turtle Conservation Association, Exeter University and Eastern Mediterranean University who carried out the study, thinks that this difference is mainly due to the greater number of deaths of the Caretta species.

It is known that sea turtles were hunted at very high rates for their meat and shell in ancient times. After the banning of the hunt and then the protection of the coasts, their numbers began to increase. However, this is not enough, the marine habitats of the species must also be protected.

The results of the research show that even if the number of nests of Caretta increases, their number in the sea is almost constant. In short, mortality rates increase with the number of offspring. As a result, there is no overall increase in the total number.  Naturally, the high mortality rate is reflected in the number of nests.

We observe that young and adult Carettas who try to survive in the waters of our country die especially due to fishing activities.

Loggerhead turtle caught in fishing net_Bogaz_Olkan Erguler

In order to protect these magnificent creatures, it is very important to understand how and where they live, where they migrate, what dangers they face and why they die. By cooperating with us in this regard, you can help to them protect. You can contact us by calling 1188 for dead or injured turtles and support their protection.

It is true that the numbers of green turtles have increased, it is estimated that the general Mediterranean population is limited to 3,400 adult individuals. But this population is limited to very few breeding grounds. Our country is one of these few places. In other words, the presence of this sensitive species in the Mediterranean is also in our hands …

This work is carried out in cooperation with the Northern Cyprus Environmental Protection Office.

Thank you very much to everyone who supported our work.

The article on this subject can be found at: https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acv.12689

Photographs: Matthew Wall – Olkan Ergüler

Source (Turkish):  SPOT Turtle Conservation Association

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