Why Sea Turtles? Why protection? Why Dalyan? Why Foundation?

So many questions, so many needs…

Why Sea Turtles?   

The Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean is a marine reptile of about 100cm carapace and ~ 80kg weight when adult. Their lifespan is up to 65 years and they mature between their 17. and 30. year. They mate in shallow waters in front of sandy beaches, where then they go to lay about 15kg eggs, buried in the sand where they are hatched by the sun May- June. The hatchlings have to get to the sea, to which they are attracted by the glittering of moon and stars. If they do not make it before the sun comes up, they dry out and/or are eaten by predators. Every female Loggerhead comes back to the beach they were hatched to lay their eggs, when mature. (More about the Loggerhead Turtle see links below)

The Mediterranean Loggerhead Sea Turtle has not much of a lobby. It is around for more than 95.000 years- but its future is bleak. It needs solicitors and advocates. It needs caretakers. It needs people who love them… 

Nearly 30 years ago "Kaptan" June Haimoff, as she is respectfully and lovingly called by the people of Dalyan, set her foot on of the main sea turtle breeding beaches in Turkey and was intrigued by the "tank like tracks" she saw on this long spit of sand in front of the Dalyan Delta. Discovering their origin, watching her first Loggerhead laying eggs and falling in love with this rather ungainly, old worldly and so vulnerable creature all happened in a flash. The fight, she and her friends put up against the degradation of the Loggerhead's habitat with a hotel complex construction actually already well on its way, is described in her book "Kaptan June and the Turtles" (Inkilap, 2006) .

Why protection?

Threats to the loggerheads are manifold:

v     They are caught in nets and fishing lines, they are bashed to keep them from rupturing these nets and lines…

v     They are killed for their meat in some places; in others people make cradles and other handcraft products from their carapace…

v     They are heavily injured or killed by propellers…

v     Their eggs are dug out by predators like foxes, jackals, feral cats and dogs- and by humans…

v     Their hatchlings are threatened by the sun, by gulls and predating mammals…

v     Their habitats are destroyed, their nesting beaches degraded…

More about threats to Caretta caretta 

Why Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation?

Seeing more and more touristic development and less and less love of nature, Kaptan June finally got some of her friends, well versed in nature conservation and other necessary skills, together to found the "Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation".  As Kaptan June followed the turtle's tracks so many years ago, we are following in her tracks to make the life of the Mediterranean Loggerhead better and ensure its survival as far as we can…

Why Dalyan?  

Dalyan is, together with Zakynthos/ Greece and some beaches in Libya, one of the main breeding beaches in Turkey. There are other beaches, too, but the Dalyan Delta has the ideal conditions for the Loggerheads, a long delta spit, fine dry sand, sun, shallow water to mate and to give the hatchlings a chance to actually survive…

And- we think that everybody should first 'sweep their own doorstep' and Kaptan June has, together with many others, already laid a nice base for the turtle's protection. So, here we are…

 

The following links about the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) we found informative:

Wikipedia
Euroturtle
Scientamarina

WWF
NOAA
MedAsset