Contact : Levent Sunger

Mobile : 0-533-572 27 53   Tel : 0-252-284 20 05   email : lindos@superonline.com / lindosdalyan@gmail.com

Address : Maras Mh. Kaunos Sk. No:30   48840 Dalyan  Mugla/Turkey

Home

CARETTA CARETTA


       Sea turtles have been living on earth for 110 million years, the human being, however, for only 2-3 million years. Of the eight species living in the world's seas, five are present in the Mediterranean. It is estimated that only a limited number of individuals the Leatherback Sea Turtle, the Hawksbill Sea Turtle and the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle species enter the Med for nutrition or by mistake. The other two species are the Caretta Caretta ( Loggerhead Sea Turtle) and the Chelonia Mydas ( Green Sea Turtle) . The nesting areas of almost half of these that  live in the Med is, Turkey's Med coast . Like the other sea turtles, these two species spend their entire life in the sea and come to beaches only to dig a nest and lay their eggs.

       Research shows that the sea turtles living in the Med are species that are partly genetically modified. The meaning of this that, apart from accidental entries and exits, Med sea turtles do not go to the ocean after laying eggs. Turtle of other seas, do not enter the Med. However, Med sea turtles can migrate between their reproduction and wintering areas within this sea. The Greek, Turkish and Cyprus coasts are their most important nesting areas while the shores of Tunisia, Libya, Italy ans Spain are their most important wintering and feeding areas. More than half of the Med Caretta Caretta population come to Turkey's Western ans Central Med coasts, especially to Iztuzu, Belek, Kızılot and Anamur, to layeggs. It is known that yearly an avarage of 2000 Caretta Caretta nests are made in the Turkish coast and that an average of 100 eggs is laid in each nest. Considering  that a mature female makes a nest 4 to 8 times each season, we know that annually about 500 Caretta Caretta females nest in the beaches of our country. Only a scant few  , about 2 or 3 of the 1000 young that are able to hatch, live for 25 years and reach maturity.

       In the Caretta Carettas' life cycle, each maturing generation returned to the beach it was born for reproduction. They mated in the shollow water of the beach they recognise, thanks to a million-year genetic memory and buried their eggs into the nests they opened in the sand of the same beach. The Caretta Carettas reach sexual maturity at 25 and reproduce in March, April and May. Their eggs-laying season is the months of June, July and August. In order to lay the eggs fertilised with the sperms they store and keep alive, the females bury about 90-100 eggs into the holes they open in the beach at a frequency of 4 to 8 times a night at 12-13 day intervals.

       Incubation last two months, and if the temperature of the sand is above 37 centigrade during this periods, all of the young in the nest become females and cooler temperatures produce male offspring. The eggs hatch while the parching heat of the sun burns the sand, but the young , upon instinct, wait for the dark and cool hours of night to dig the sand and treat on each other to get out.

Then they run towards the pale glint of the sea with all their might and jump into the salty water. Nature has equipped them with two special devices in their competition on the thin line that seperates life and death. The Loggerheads  with two features that help them in their race to defy death. The tusk-like projection on the heads of the young turtles enables them to crack the shell of the egg and then disappears in time. A pea-size accumulation of fat in their abdomen is the energy stock they require to reach the sea quickly.

       This race to live and die is full of obstacles, most of which are man-made. If there are bright lights on the beach due to camps and facilities, the young go inland towards them instead of the sea. When they fall into the deep tracks of car wheels and holes they are mostly unable to get out and fall prey to seagulls, crabs and other carnivores when the sun rises or dehydrate and die. Reaching the sea does not guarantee life for these cute little turtles. They have to swim 24 hours non-stop to reach open sea in order to avoid the large predatory fish that wait for them in the coastal water.   

Another increasingly harmful activity is the "sea turtle watching tour", where turtles are illegaly fed at the delta side of the beach. As Lindos Pension, we strongly object to these tours and request that you do not attend, as the sea turtles tend to stay in the delta section due to these boat tours, get more injuries due to heavy river traffic, and get used to the unnatural way of feeding.      

NO FEEDING, NO WATCHING TOUR