Last nest excavation in Kyparissia Bay
The ARCHELON team in Kyparissia Bay has successfully completed the monitoring and protection of sea turtle nesting for 2022. More than 3,700 nests were recorded on 14.5 km of beach which was surveyed daily by the researchers/ volunteers of the project. “We received a total of 61 volunteers during the whole season,” says Michalis Souroulidis, the Project Manager of the Kyparissia project.
Volunteers were trained on the spot by the experienced field leaders: Kira Schirrmacher (Monitoring Coordinator), Sarah Kelliher, Lisa Combillet, Ambre Estrada, Rachel Forster, Leo Bontempi, Jacob Whelan (Monitoring Leaders), Eleftheria Psichomani (Public Awareness Leader), Αurore Lecompte (Camping and Volunteers Leader).
“The daily tasks were equally distributed to the team, so everyone got to see and handle sea turtles, nests, or hatchlings, as well as a chance to talk to people visiting the area”, says Eleftheria Psichomani, the Public Awareness leader of Kyparissia project.
Many people on the beaches asked questions and were supportive of the team, especially during the nest excavations. These excavations were carried out after the nests had hatched, in order to determine their hatching success. The last nest was excavated on Monday, September 26th and its hatching success was 75,5%, which is within the normal range (see photos).
ARCHELON has been carrying out monitoring of the reproduction of sea turtles and public awareness activities in Kyparissia Bay, every year since the beginning of the 80s. The area is acknowledged to be home to the largest reproductive population of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean. The Nature Protection Area of Kyparissia Bay was established in 2018, but there are still pressures and threats to the habitats and species found there.
The volunteers registered repeatedly disturbance of the nesting of sea turtles on several spots of the beach. Loud music, human presence, and sunbeds/ umbrellas remaining during the night on the beach demonstrated that local businesses as well as free campers did not pay enough attention to the protection measures in place.
“The numbers of beach furniture, the levels of light pollution and the noise in the village of Kalo Nero, as well as in some other spots of the beach, were so high that these nests and hatchlings would not have survived without the ARCHELON project. “I am grateful to everyone who participated. Despite the difficulties and the intense workload, everyone kept working. We all felt tired, but, together, we made it: we recorded and protected all nests and hatchlings”.
While the Kyparissia team is wrapping up the project and will get a well-deserved rest, ARCHELON staff is preparing the call for volunteers for the 2023 nesting season, soon to appear on the website.