Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This season so far.......By John Larner

Volunteers from North Cyprus, UK and other countries have been working hard on the beaches across North Cyprus since May 2010. This mid season update will hopefully give you a good idea of how the project is going and more importantly some useful information on how the turtles are doing this season.

The Loggerheads and Greens are laying their final egg clutches for the season. To date there have been 35 loggerhead nests and 70 green nests on the primary nesting ground of Alagadi. In addition to this there have been 184 loggerhead nests and 29 green nests on the other beaches along the West and Northern Cyprus coastline. Furthermore the locally led turtle conservation project operating on the Karpas peninsula has recorded many Green nests this year.

One of the primary successes to surface from this season so far is the relationship that has been established by the MTRG with the local fishermen. Communication has vastly improved which has lead to an improved relationship and has acted as a catalyst for improved conservation efforts and new branches of research into how fishing affects sea turtles in the Mediterranean. This morning a loggerhead turtle was caught in a net by a fisherman at Kaplica. After the fishermen contacted us we received the turtle at the harbour, tagged it and released it at Kaplica. Perhaps the adult female turtle will some day lay eggs on Alagadi beach, or it may be recaptured by fishermen in the future, providing information on her movements.

As the season moves into the second phase, we are starting to see the first hatchlings emerge from the beaches. Clearly this is a massively rewarding part of the project, and we invite people to come down to Alagadi beach to experience the hatchlings bravely making it to the sea for themselves.

Anyone wanting to see the hatchlings is advised to ring the MTRG project base (AKA the goatshed) to find out when the next hatchling excavation will be. As the season moves into August, this will be an almost daily occurrence! Remember only one hatchling in a thousand will survive to adulthood, so we welcome you to egg them on! The telephone number is: 0090 (0)5338798533. Also keep an eye on this blog, which will be updated daily by 9am with details of any excavations planned day to day.

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