January 28, 2023

North Cyprus nestıng beach_Photo by Inanç Tekgüç

Reader’s Mail….

As it is known, the green turtles, which are an endangered species, breed in our country. They spend most of their lives by feeding in a single region and migrate from this region to the beaches from where they hatched in order to nest.

At SPOT- the Society for the Protection of Turtles – we have seen that the number of turtles on our beaches is increasing in general, within the research we have carried out with the permission of the Environmental Protection Department and in cooperation with the University of Exeter. Especially since 1990, the number of nests on our Karpaz coasts has tripled.

This increase could not be explained only by the conservation work we carried out on the coasts because the feeding areas of the mothers are as vital as the spawning areas. In order to understand the reasons for this increase, we tracked 19 female green turtles nesting in the Karpaz Peninsula, one of the important spawning areas in our country, with monitoring devices. We found that 14 of them -74%- were feeding in the Bardawil Lagoon in Egypt.

Bardawil Lagoon is connected to the sea by a narrow strait opened by people. Thanks to this man-made narrow strait, marine species such as sea turtles can enter and exit the lake. Created for fishing in the 1950s, this lagoon has become an ideal feeding ground for adult green turtles.

Our board member, Dr. Damla Beton said, “Of course, although the increase in the number of green turtles makes us all very happy, the fact that this increase focuses on a single lagoon in Egypt is worrying. Namely, a change or disaster that could occur in this man made area of nature, where most of the mothers are fed, may cause a sudden decrease in the numbers in our country. It could even endanger the entire population.”

Our board member, Dr. Robin Snape, also said that many more of the mothers laying eggs in our country go to the Bardawil Lagoon to feed compared to 2010. Unfortunately, the number of individuals feeding on the coasts of Cyprus and Turkey is decreasing day by day, and this is probably due to the fact that they are victims of by-catch. He added; “We are working on new technologies to reduce the chances of turtles living in Cypriot waters getting caught in nets and dying, and we encourage and finance our fishermen to use these technologies.”

At SPOT, we would like to thank the TRNC Ministers of Environment and Tourism, Mr. Unal Ustel, who supported the realization of this work, and Mr. To Fikir Ataoğlu, Environmental Protection Department Managers, Mr. Abdullah Aktolgali and Mr. Osman Bora Çağakan, the Mayor of Dipkarpaz,  Mr Suphi Coşkun, and all SPOT volunteers who contributed.

The study, funded by the MAVA Foundation and the Natural Environment Research Council, is published in the scientific journal Global Ecology and Conservation, under the title “Mediterranean green turtle population recovery increasingly depends on Lake Bardawil, Egypt.”.

You can access the sea turtle migration routes used in the publication on the SPOT website at www.cyprusturtles.org.

Source (Turkish): SPOT – The Society for the Protection of Turtles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate » to your language
%d bloggers like this: