Looking for male sea turtles in Amvrakikos Gulf
The data and knowledge available about the movements of male sea turtles in the Mediterranean is still limited today. ARCHELON has been trying to fill this gap in recent years. This year, the small group of volunteers with Hugo Baron as field leader and Joyce Rapiteau, Leo Cormary, Holly Smith-Baedorf, Eleanor Goodsell as members, managed to place 5 satellite transmitters on adult male turtles found in Amvrakikos Gulf. Τhe movements of the turtles and their migration corridors can now be seen on a map, following the daily signal of the transmitters, the movements of the turtles and their future migrations can now be seen on a map on ARCHELON’s website.
"The transmitters were placed on adults, with a minimum tail length of 25 cm", says Nikoletta Sidiropoulou, marine biologist who is the Project manager for the projects in Amvrakikos Gulf. During this year's program, a total of 299 sea turtles were captured and released within a few minutes, in order to tag them with a special identification mark and record the characteristics of the animals. "The results of the daily and long-term field work of ARCHELON volunteers are fascinating and will contribute to the enhancement of scientific knowledge about the movements and migration of sea turtles", she continues.
The shallow waters of Amvrakikos Gulf in northwestern Greece, are one of the most important feeding grounds for sea turtles in Greece. This valuable ecosystem, which includes wetlands of international importance, hosts not only Loggerheads but also Green turtles.
The first projects of ARCHELON in this site began in 2000 and have continued uninterruptedly since then. Satellite tagging of male sea turtles started in Amvrakikos in 2020, within the framework of the project "Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region" and continued there in 2021.
One of the surprises of this summer is that, for the third year, we identified 2 turtles which had been tagged in Italy. "This is why international and European legislation exists and transnational cooperation is required in the efforts to conserve migratory animals, such as sea turtles" comments Panagiota Theodorou, Coordinator of Legal and Institutional Issues of ARCHELON, who is responsible for the overall implementation of the project.
The activities of placing satellite transmitters and tagging adult male animals is expected to continue in the spring of 2022. The project "Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region” is funded by the MAVA Foundation.