Sea turtles

The sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), also known as the Green Turtle, Caretta or the Loggerhead Turtle has been coming to North Cyprus for several 1000 years. Northern Cyprus beaches have a special meaning for the sea turtle as it is endangered. The Mediterranean is especially important for this species as they come here to lay their eggs.

At the end of May to June, the females lay around 150 eggs in the sand. The Turtles use their flippers to dig holes to lay the eggs which they then cover with sand to protect them. When their egg laying is complete, they swim out to sea again.

VISIT Alagadi BEACH and GET TO JOIN TO SEE SEA TURTLES

A research team from the UK come here every year to monitor and help this animal.

After about 50 days in the warm sand, the eggs hatch (around late July-early August) and then the fight for survival begins in the sun’s damaging rays (only 1 in 1000 survives). But first the turtles need to free themselves through 1 meter of sand to reach the surface which can take up to four to five days. After this gruelling task, the tiny babies have to make their way to the Sea and during this journey further dangers await. They can be eaten by birds of prey, dogs, foxes and ghost crabs.

The temperature of the sand is around 29 degrees (which provides a 50/50 gender balance within the nest), and if the temperature is higher more females are born. It has been recorded that the sand on Alagadi beach is warmer than the rest of the country which creates 90% more females, and if global warming continues, could have disastrous consequences for the species.

When the females are between twenty to thirty years old, they return to the beach where they were born to the lay their eggs and begin the life cycle all over again.

Please visit Alagadi. Here you can, if you are lucky, get to witness when the BIG turtles lay their eggs, or you can join to see when the Turtles hatch.

You can also sponsor research by adopting a sea turtle.

www.seaturtle.org

Email: wfuller@seaturtle.org

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