The Oceanographic Centre at the University of Cyprus (UCy) is encouraging the public in Cyprus to download a smartphone app aimed at collecting information on observations of sea turtles in the wild.
The eTurtle app is available on Google Play and is in English, Italian, Greek, Croatian, Slovenian and Maltese.
To browse login is not required, but to upload observations users have to log in either through Google or Facebook.
The app was developed by Croatian Natural History Museum and its partners in the LIFE Euroturtles project co-funded by the EU with the aim of bettering the conservation status of the Loggerhead and Green Turtle. It involves nine organisations from six Mediterranean countries.
“The ultimate purpose of the application is to help improve the management and protection measures for the two species of sea turtles, Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Green (Chelonia mydas), which spawn in Cyprus and the rest of the Mediterranean and are considered as protected by the European Union through the Habitats Directive,” UCy said.
The Oceanographic Centre at the university is the national coordinator in collaboration with the department of fisheries and marine research.
The two bodies in Cyprus secured funding in 2016, in cooperation with seven other partners, under the LIFE Nature & Biodiversity project.
“The eTurtle application for smartphones for use with the help of citizens and fishermen aims at collecting information on sea turtles in order to increase the knowledge of competent bodies on coastal marine areas,” UCy added.
According to www.euroturtles.eu, incidental capture in fishing gear is the main threat to sea turtles in Cyprus. Other threats in the project area include light and noise pollution in the nesting beaches, predation on nests, mainly from foxes, as well as increased boat traffic during tourist season in the foraging areas.
At a local level, UCy said a 24-hour helpline is in operation 96952929 for the rescue and care of injured and sick sea turtles and for reporting and removal of dead sea turtles.