ARCHELON, The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, in collaboration with the Management Agency of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ), as part of the awareness program and education of the public, have performed a public excavation on Kalamaki beach, in front of the Crystal hotel on Sunday 9 October.
The number of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta Caretta) nests this year, which reached around 1500 nests, has given a significant need for the two bodies to inform the locals and visitors of Zakynthos about the work done in the marine protected area.
ARCHELON, in cooperation with the NMPZ, collects scientific data daily on the nesting, hatching and excavation of sea turtles and their nests from May to October every year. Trained volunteers of ARCHELON and the staff of the Management Agency of the NMPZ will excavate some nests after the incubation period and study the eggs inside. By counting the empty hatched eggs and those that did not hatch in the nest, determines the success rate and the total number of eggs the nest contained. These numbers provide valuable information for the protection of the species. Occasionally, some excavated nests contain live hatchlings, either trapped by rocks or compact sand or were too weak to come to the surface of the sand. In such cases, it is assessed whether they are strong enough for their journey to the sea, or if the hatchling must be placed back under the sand to give them the opportunity to emerge the following night.
Those who attended the public excavation had the unique opportunity to discover what is inside the nests of the Caretta Caretta and understand the purpose of the protective measures established by the Management Agency of the NMPZ.
The information and public awareness is an important task for ARCHELON and the Management Agency of the NMPZ. From the beginning of the nesting period, they perform a series of events to inform and educate the public about the importance of protecting the sea turtles. From informing visitors on the nesting beaches, the NMPZ Museum and beach warden huts, information stations and presentations by ARCHELON volunteers to releases of rehabilitated turtles, public excavations are another important way in which awareness is raised about the need to protect the loggerhead sea turtle.
Anna Lamaj, Project Coordinator Zakynthos,
phone: +30 6940454976, email: firstname.lastname@example.org