Sea Turtles in North Cyprus
Caretta Caretta & Chelonia mydas
Sea Turtles are found in plenty on the shores of North Cyprus especially between the months of May to August. The Alagadi Beach in North Cyprus is classified as a prohibited area to protect these endangered species from getting extinct. The two of the most endangered species of turtles are found on the deserted beaches of North Cyprus which is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea as the turtles come here to nest. There are only 300-400 green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and 2000 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) found in the Mediterranean Sea out of which 10% of the loggerhead varieties and 30% of the green turtles are found in the Mediterranean nest in North Cyprus. People are today trying their level best to protect these species from getting extinct.
The Sea Turtles in North Cyprus start their journey from land as they emerge from eggs laid by the female turtles that come to the land to lay their eggs. Their incubation period lasts for about 45-60 days on land. Once the eggs hatch the little ones make an attempt to reach the sea and anxiously swim on the sea waters where they live for the rest of their lives. As soon as they are 25-30 years old and 1-2 meters in length they migrate to the beaches to eat and reproduce. The female turtle lays 3-4 nests with each nest carrying around 100 eggs and she will nest every 1-3 years at the same beach every time. These turtles have a long life if they survive the initial years and live up to 160 years. There are two species of marine turtles nesting in North Cyprus which is the loggerhead and the green turtle variety. Although both the varieties are endangered the green turtle are more vulnerable.
There are over 80 beaches along North Cyprus and these are monitored closely for their turtle activity especially between the months of May to October. It is estimated that only a single hatching from among 2000 will make it to adulthood as most of the sea turtles do not survive till maturity. A group of ecologists and students have been studying and helping these rare species to survive to avoid them from getting extinct. The main causes of worry and threats to the Sea Turtles in North Cyprus are degradation due to increase in tourism and beach usage, sand extraction, direct and incidental catch in fisheries and nets of fishermen, destruction due to wild and domestic animals, and marine land based pollution. The Environmental Protection Office of Northern Cyprus in combination with environmental related NGOs is now very active in the protection of sea turtles. The environmental related NGOs include organizations such as society for protection of marine turtles, green peace movement of North Cyprus and North Cyprus national trust. Since 1992 over 200 students and staff from British universities have taken part in the yearly monitoring and preservation of sea turtles in North Cyprus. The work is carried out at the request and in combination with the members of the local society for the protection of turtles and the local department of environmental protection.
Some general information for you to keep on hand:
Mating time for these turtles is May/June
Hatching time is Aug/Sep
Nesting time is June/July
I hope that by through this article you can take away some general information on sea turtles in North Cyprus. If ever in the area on vacation or stay pay a visit to these wonderful beautiful creatures.
Visitors are welcome to observe this exciting experience!!!