Τurn off the lights at Zaga Memi beach for baby turtles
Appeal to the ecological sensitivity of residents and visitors in Koroni, Messinia
The majority of nests of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) on the beach Zaga-Memi in Koroni are expected to hatch starting this weekend and until the end of September. Knowing the ecological sensitivity of residents and visitors who support the work of ARCHELON every summer since 1994, we appeal to them for reducing light pollution by turning off or shading the municipal and private artificial lights that shine on the beach, after 11pm each night.
The Koroni project of ARCHELON has been running for 26 years, ensuring that the nests of the species are protected and that hatchlings reach the sea safely. This summer, unfortunately, travel restrictions and cancellations of flights from abroad, prevented us from establishing a field team in Koroni. Instead, valuable help is provided by sensitized residents of the area, who record the nests with the guidance and support of ARCHELON. Even so, the protective method of shading for turtles cannot be applied this summer because the exact location of the nests has not been identified.
What does this mean? According to data from previous years, more than 100 nests are expected to hatch "unannounced" in the coming weeks on the beach Zagka-Memi 2.7 km long. Therefore if the lights are not turned off or shaded, the chicks will not reach the sea.
ARCHELON reminds that loggerhead hatchlings are "phototactic organisms", i.e. they are attracted to light. They usually hatch at night or in the early morning hours and move towards the sea that mirrors the moon and the stars. However, artificial lights near the sea cause their disorientation and hatchlings move towards inland, which is fatal in the battle for survival from the very first minutes of their lives.
For this reason, ARCHELON appeals to local authorities and companies to turn down, cover or turn off their lights completely after 11 pm, so that hundreds of chicks do not lose their way and end up dead at their facilities or on the road, the next day.
Let us all demonstrate our interest in the protection of sea turtles in a practical way, by turning off or shading the artificial lights (municipal or private) on Zaga Memi beach. There are legal provisions in place that dictate the "avoidance of light pollution and ensuring that there will be no leakage of light from private and public light sources to the beach so that chicks are not disoriented" on the nesting beaches of sea turtles throughout the country –(Joint Ministerial Decision on concession of seashore 2020-2022, NEW ANNEX, published on 5-6-2020).
And if we happen to witness a great moment of hatchlings coming out of the sand, lets be responsible and notify the Koroni Port Station that has the information to act properly, in collaboration with ARCHELON. Helping a wild animal is not as obvious in its handling as we often think.
Contact telephone in case of nest hatching:
Koroni Port Authority 2725 022377
Michalis Souroulidis, ARCHELON Programme Officer for south Peloponnese
tel: 6951 00 9785, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Archive photos. Unfortunately ARCHELON’s volunteers are absent this year from the nesting beaches of Koroni.