Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Excavation today 18:00

Another loggerhead nest to excavate on bay 1 tonight. We will not be doing one tomorrow night as we are all invited to the High Commissioners residence for a cocktail party. WOOOo Hoooo!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New time for excavations: 18:00 tonight

Excavations will now be starting at 18:00 rather than 18:30 as we are loosing the light fast.

Disappointingly but quite predictably no-one turned out for the litter pick on Tuesday but we managed to clear the car park and it's now looking and smelling a lot better down here. We will clear the Alagadi 2 area soon and hopefully, the busy summer period over with, it might stay nice for a while.

We've been enjoying the cooler weather and making the most of relaxation time now that the work is less busy. Only a few weeks left for most of us and many leaving this week, we will drop to 7 people.

We still have not found a home for Gunter (below) and the beagle puppy that was hanging around us has now dissapeared after our efforts to re-home that one also failed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Litter pick this evening at Alagadi 18:00

We have no nests to excavate tonight but instead will be focusing efforts on the car park at Alagadi and on the beach itself, tackling the litter that has built up during the busy hatching period, during which we were unable to do litter clears. This is a big job but many hands make light work so if you have the late afternoon free and feel like doing somthing for the community and the environment, come down to the Goat Shed at 18:00. We have latex gloves and bin liners but feel free to bring more as we will use them later in the season or next year if they are not used.

Hoping to see a good turn out.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Excavation tonight at Alagadi. 18:30

We will be excavating a logerhead nest at Alagadi tonight so meet at the goatshed if you are interested. This is a loggerhead nest that has been hatching since yesterday. 40 live have already emerged but there may be more to come plus we have green hatchlings to release from this mornings patrol.

Any takers for adopting our pooch below please contact me on 05338879115.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Celebrate and lets excavate!

Hey guys and gals!

I am really excited to tell you we have another excavation today! Two in a row, you are a lucky bunch of people! So the order of proceedings are as any other night. Turn up at our base, the 'Goatshed' in Alagadi Village just before 6.30pm and we will walk down to the beach together at just after the half hour. The whole thing should not last much more than an hour to an hour 30mins, bring a bottle of water as it can still be quiet hot at this time.

As always feel free to ask any questions to any of the volunteers at the turtle project, and come visit our info room and small shop at our base to find out more infomation or just have a chat as to how we got involved!

The beach is open before hand (8am-8pm) if you should come early, and there is a lovely beach bar in the middle of Alagadi beach should you want a drink whilst you wait for 6.30pm to role on round.

Hopefully see you all later,

Samuel x

Friday, September 4, 2009

Loving Family Needed!

Slightly off topic blog message for today, mainly addressing those wonderful ex pats and the Cypriots that live out here in sunny, sunny Northern Cyprus. We have a member of our team who needs a new home by the beginning of October. He has been with us since around the end of June but needs a loving family when we all disappear off back to our hometowns. He is called Gunter and is the friendliest dog you will have ever met. He just decided to visit us down at the beach one night, frightening a couple of members to death at first, but they both quickly realised he just wanted a bit of company. Now he never leaves us, we are his surrogate family.

Ideally as I have said we would love someone to take him in as their own pet, as although a couple of members have looked at taking him back to England, it unfortunately costs far too much to keep him in quarantine for the needed length of time.

He enjoys complete free reign around the Goatshed and the surrounding area of Alagadi, so is very much his own man. However with little effort he has learned the commands sit and stay and also does not mind being on a lead, which we often have to do so he doesn’t come down to the beach at night.

If he is not adopted by someone by the end of the season (beginning of October) he will unfortunately have to be abandoned as there is no room for him at the dog sanctuary. Even if you cannot adopt him yourself please spread the word to everyone you know and hopefully we will be able to find him a warm and loving home.

To get in touch leave a message on the blog, or come down to our base, the ‘Goatshed’, in Alagadi Village.

Thank you,

Samuel and the rest of us at the Turtle Project.

Work innundation/excavation today.

The past few weeks have been crazy. The peak period of hatching with over 10 nests hatching at the same time for some days. We have four experiments currently underway at University of Exeter looking into population genetics and turtle behaviour. These all require a lot of man power on the beach at Alagadi night and day.

All of our nests (183 now as we had a very late loggerhead nest on Aug 30th...record year by 20 nests)are circled with a ring cage which forms a barrier around the nest on 40 days post lay. The ring cages have a gate which is closed just before dark. After dark each ring caged nest is checked every half an hour so the beaches are walked at these intervals through the night. On finding hatchlings in a ring cage they are put into a bucket and taken to our lab facility on Alagadi 1 beach where a biopsy sample is taken for genetic analysis. Some hatchlings are then used in time trial experiments to assess whether our work with them is having a detrimental effect on the energy levels of the hatchlings prior to release. Further, some hatchlings may be used in orientation experiments where individuals are released in a circular arena on the beach with artificial lights at the opposite side of the arena to the sea. We are experimenting to find which wavelengths (colours) of light attract hatchlings away from the sea most and which are turtle friendly. We may be able to find alternative lights that are visible to humans but not to hatchlings so getting around the problem of development on beaches where artificial lights cause hatchlings to travel away from the sea on hatching.

After nests have hatched and once a certain number of babies have emerged or if the nest has been hatching for a certain number of days, or if it has failed to hatch by 60 days, we then dig it up. If we think that some hatchlings may remain in the nest alive then we will call a public excavation as we have today. We usually have babies left from the previous night that we were unable to release before dawn, we can release these at sun set after the excavation with any live from the excavated nest. If the excavated nest is one of our study nests then the contents of the nest have to be taken back to the lab for biopsy. This is often a nasty job as many of the unhatched eggs can be very rotten and we need to take samples from any failed embryos. This PhD project is looking into the paternity of hatchlings....the contribution of males to the population. All of our studies have in the past focussed on females as these are the only individuals that come out of the water, but we are now using modern DNA technology to find out more about the population as a whole.

And all this is just at Alagadi, we still have 20 beaches around the rest of the island to survey every day carrying out excavations when we find hatched nests, averaging around 10 a day. Already short on numbers we had two volunteers that left a month early. At this point we had to close our base on the west coast and a group of two have been surveying the North and West coasts every other day. Hard work and a lot of driving and petrol.

Finally it looks like the storm has passed and things are beginning to calm down. We only have about 45 nests remaining on Alagadi (though in 2005 we had this many nests all season). It's a relief to walk down to the beach and not be confronted with a dense forest of white cages!

A few more volunteers on their way out though we are saying goodbye to more. Evren who has been volunteering arrives on Sunday and I'm looking forward to putting him to work. Mostly looking forward to the last few weeks of September when things really quieten down and hopefully there will be some time for a bit of recreation and maybe some tandem paragliding if the wind is right.

Meet at Alagadi tonight at 18:30 to see a public nest excavation and we also have about 50 hatchlings to release.