By Aydin Calik
A turtle nesting beach in Ayios Amvrosios (Esentepe) in the north of the island has been significantly damaged by heavy machinery carrying out cleaning work along the coast, conservationists said on Tuesday.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay reported that the works along the public beach were being done without permission.
Responding to the allegations in the press, the Ayios Amvrosios local council, in a statement denied the claims. “It is easy to see that we have given the turtle nests the necessary care they deserve,” it said.
However Robin Snape from the Society for protection of Turtles told the Cyprus Mail that his team members, who patrol the beaches daily, saw turtle nests that had been disturbed by the cleaning works.
“There is a restaurant and other facilities being built on the beach by the municipality,” he said, adding that the society was very concerned about how these projects might affect the habitat of the turtles.
Baby turtles which hatch and head straight for the sea can be distracted by other lights in the area end up in danger.
In addition, the society is particularly worried that the required permission to construct the restaurant has not been obtained.
Snape said the society, which regularly conducts research on the wellbeing of the turtles, would be reporting their findings and that they would continue their efforts for the conservation and protection of the caretta caretta turtles.
A German-based group by the name of ‘Friends of Northern Cyprus Association’ also denounced the actions of the local council and stated that the cleaning methods being used meant that the baby turtles and their nests were being destroyed. The association, which said it has contributed financially to the protection of the turtles, called for an end to the “inhumane” activities.