On the 15th August ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece was informed of another incident of a dead turtle in the bay of Laganas in Zakynthos. Unfortunately, since May, more than 20 cases of dead turtles have been recorded by ARCHELON, of which 11 have been recorded in the marine area of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. ARCHELON volunteers found the dead turtle at the port of Agios Sostis. This was a young male animal, which had severe blows on the shell and on the head from a boat collision.
Then, based on a photo archive, ARCHELON researchers have been able to identify this dead turtle. Unfortunately, it was "Achilles", one of the few male turtles that lived permanently in the bay of Laganas, who do not migrate to other areas of the Mediterranean for wintering or finding food. The continued presence of Achilles in Laganas bay has been documented since 2012, as the scars he had on his shell from an earlier propeller conflict made it very easy to identify the particular animal. Indeed, in 2016, the same animal was identified with hook injuries, and after receiving first aid from ARCHELON volunteers, he was released back into his natural environment. Sadly, this year Achilles was not so lucky.
The death of Achilles once again proves the highly problematic situation in Laganas Bay. This situation is exemplified by the very large number of recreational boats, the constant violation of the speed limit by these boats (6 knots) set by the Presidential Decree applicable to the area (already over 150 violations of the speed limit have been recorded during the current summer season), the flagrant violation of the guidelines of sea turtle observation issued by the Management Agency of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and the lack of visitor information from the boat operators, all of which create a scene of severe disturbance of the protected animal. On top of all of the above, the worrying sea turtle feeding has been added in recent months.
Achilles was one of the turtles that both tourists and boat-owners were feeding in order to get clear photographs. Unfortunately, this feeding practice made the wild animal tolerant of the boats and the human interaction, resulting in reduced reaction of avoiding the boats.
ARCHELON hopes that the death of Achilles will provide an opportunity to improve the bad situation in Laganas Bay. Proper implementation of the legislation and directives of the Management Agency of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos is a duty of all of us! Ultimately, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos is a protection area for sea turtles and the environment.
Information: Anna Lamaj, Project Officer Zakynthos
Τel.: +306940454976, e mail: email@example.com