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Caretta Caretta – Do They Nest In Turkey?

Caretta caretta is something beautiful and a kind of genious.

Are you, just like me, always curious about the world of the Caretta Caretta turtles? When you do a little research, you will see that these are extremely smart and incredible creatures.

Caretta Caretta is on the red list of threatened species published by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) in 2000. This list classifies ‘Caretta Carettaas a species that is not seriously endangered but has a high risk of extinction in the near future. This species is also protected under the CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Wild Animal and Plant Species).

Caretta Caretta, which has existed on the Earth for around 110 million years until now, generally live in the coasts of the bays in the temperate and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. The largest population of this species in North America is found on islands that stretch from North Carolina to the Florida coast.

Distribution on Earth

The largest nesting area of these animals is in Masirah Island in Oman, followed by Greece, and Turkey on the Mediterranean coast. The Caretta Caretta spawning areas in Turkey are located in:

  • Ekincik,
  • Dalyan,
  • Dalaman,
  • Fethiye,
  • Patara,
  • Kumluca,
  • Belek,
  • Cirali,
  • Kizilot,
  • Demirtas,
  • Gazipasa,
  • Anamur,
  • Goksu Delta coasts.

Following the island of Zakynthos in Greece, the Belek (Antalya) region is the second-largest nesting area in the Mediterranean region. This coastline is Turkey’s largest spawning area. The largest number of Caretta Caretta nests in Belek, which has the largest population in Turkey, was around 400 before the year 2000. This number has increased up to around 2,000 in recent years.

The Caretta Caretta activities in Iztuzu Beach

Iztuzu Beach in the town of Ortaca in Mu─čla is another destination that spawning occurs every year in late April and early May. The juveniles arrive in the sea approximately 50-60 days after hatching. The hatching of the juvenile continues from July to September. On the Iztuzu coast, the turtles make an average of 600-650 nests. And, about 35,000 juveniles coming out of these nests reach to the sea each year.

The activists carrying out protection measure cage each and every nest on the beaches, where the turtles lay their eggs. These cages prevent the human being in the first place, and then other harmful animals such as foxes, who can damage these nests, to touch the eggs. Doing so provides sending the highest number of juveniles off the beach to the sea. Caretta Carettas usually come to the beach where they were born to make their nests for the next generations.

Protecting the Caretta Caretta race

Although the main concern focuses on the nesting areas, we should also protect other regions, where the turtles continue their lives. Factors such as a big crowd of people on the coastline, artificial light sources in nesting areas, and uncontrolled fishing increase the pressure on these species. It will also be useful to organize training programs for the regional population and tourists. We must definitely tell these people how to behave especially on the beaches used by these and similar creatures.

Of course, it will also be useful to set up rules on this issue and to implement nest protection procedures. We should also investigate turtle deaths due to fishing activities and take the necessary precautions.

Did you know these?

  • Sea turtles are very special creatures that can find their hatching beach even after 20 years.
  • They can migrate for a very long distance between feeding, nesting, and wintering areas. Moreover, they use the magnetic field of the world to make this migration.
  • A sea turtle can lay an average of 80 eggs at a time. During the 40-years long productivity period, it lays about 3200 eggs. However, only three out of every thousand eggs can reach puberty.
  • An adult female can mate with multiple male individuals and store their sperm. Thus, she can spawn four times in the same year and go to the beach every three years for nesting purposes.
  • The gender of the baby turtles can also vary depending on the temperature of the nest. Due to the effects of global warming, there is a danger that the whole species may become male or female after a while. (If the average incubation temperature is below 29 degrees, the juveniles will be male and if above they become female). However, scientists believe that this creature, which even survived the ice ages, will overcome this problem.
  • Young individuals find their way with natural light reflected from the sea when they hatch. The small Caretta Caretta, who instinctively reaches the sea by coming out from under soil of about 1 meter, swims crazily towards the open sea for 24 hours.
Caretta Caretta Statue in Dalyan.

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