This summer the feeding of sea turtles with fruits and vegetables in Laganas Bay in Zakynthos is a major threat and cause of disturbance for this protected species. The Phenomenon was first recorded in the marine area of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos in September 2016. Unfortunately, it is being recorded to a much greater extent this year, from eco-tour and privately rented boats, in order to attract the wild animals by throwing fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and peaches, to take clear photographs.
The Loggerhead sea turtle is a migratory species, and visit Zakynthos every year to mate and create nests. Giving the wild animals unsuitable food can cause a lot of issues to their behavior, and the serious results are starting to show.
With these kind of bad practices, the sea turtles now associate human presence with food, and this might cause them to become more aggressive to people. In fact, more aggressive behavior has been noticed even between the animals, as there is increased competition for the new source of food. Boats and people that do not follow the guidelines issued by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, cause disturbance to the endangered species during their observation.
ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece wants to remark that the feeding of sea turtles should immediately stop because:
- Wild animals are not, and should not, be treated as pets.
- The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is a protected area to conserve the sea turtles and their critical nesting habitat, not a zoo to feed or even touch the wild animals.
- This kind of interference might cause long-term problems to the normal behavior and health of the animal, as well as to the safety of the people.
It is becoming clear, that if feeding of these wild animals and the observation of aggressive behavior continues, it is only a matter of time until an accident occurs. We should always keep in mind that it is a wild animal, and we should not treat it as a pet, but to observe it properly and coexist with it respectfully.
In order to immediately stop this bad practice, which creates a bad reputation for the island of Zakynthos, we kindly ask the visitors to avoid boats that feed sea turtles and in case that they observe this kind of practice, to immediately contact the warden of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and the Port Police Authority.
Information: Anna Lamaj, Project Leader of Zakynthos Project
Phone: +30 6940454976, email: firstname.lastname@example.org