The Management Agency of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and ARCHELON- The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece are excited to announce that the first hatched nest for this year was found last Sunday in Sekania beach, an area which is characterised as ‘Strict Nature Protection Area’ of the Marine Park. This signals the start of the hatching season for 2018 and with more than 1300 nests laid in the nesting beaches of the Park only in Laganas bay we are looking forward to many more hatchling to reach the Mediterranean.
After their exit from the nest, usually during the night, hatchlings find their way to the sea following the reflection of moonlight on the water. If there are artificial lights in the back of the beach, however, hatchlings get disorientated and eventually die from dehydration. In such places, ARCHELON volunteers place shades near the nests before they hatch. This shading is made out of bamboo beach mats and helps the hatchlings reach the sea.
However, it should be mentioned that there are a lot of dangers out there in the coastal and marine environment for the tiny hatchlings, as they fall prey to other marine organisms (e.g. fishes, marine birds). It is estimated that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings will make it to adulthood (which is estimated to happen in the age of almost 20 years).
In case you are lucky and see hatchlings on the beach during the day, the only way you can help them is by removing the hot sand from in front of them as well as shading them. It’s of extreme importance not to put sea water on them, as it will confuse them and they will think they have reached the sea. Also, do not attempt to touch or lift them, as their walk to the sea is crucial not only for their survival in their first long journey, but it is also important for them to track the abiotic characteristics of the nesting beach so they can return here (repatriation or return migration), as adults, to make their own nests.
National Marine Park of Zakynthos: http://www.nmp-zak.org/
ARCHELON, The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece: www.archelon.gr