Cyprus Mail

Two injured turtles being treated, boat owners asked to take more care

File Photo: Loggerhead turtle

Τwo injured green turtles found in Limassol are being treated at the turtle rescue centre in Meneou, an official said on Tuesday.

The two adult turtles, a male and a female, were located in Limassol and were transferred at the beginning of the month to the Marine Aquaculture Research Centre (CyMARC) in Meneou, which also operates as a turtle rescue centre, from the British Bases.

Head of the fisheries department’s sea turtle protection programme, Melina Marcou, the two turtles have lung injuries.

“After their treatment is completed, they will be released back into the sea,” Marcou told the Cyprus News Agency.

Marcou called on people using speedboats, jet skis and vessels with propellers to be especially careful since turtles are in shallow waters this part of the season for their reproductive activity.

“Most of them lie on the sea surface during the day in a lethargic state and bask in the sun, so they do not move much,” she said.

She added that people in vessels going at high speeds do not spot the turtles in time and cannot avoid them, so they get hit by the propellers.

Marcou also called on people to be careful when visiting the beaches in the area of Meneou and Kiti in Larnaca where there are turtle nests.

She said officials from the fisheries department visit once a week the beaches in the area of ​​Pervolia and Kiti to locate new nests.

“After about seven weeks, the inspectors open the nests to count the eggs, in order to determine how many turtles hatched and what the success rate was for each nest,” she said. After about seven weeks of incubation, she said, 63 eggs were successfully hatched.

“Statistics show that in recent years there has been an increasing trend of nesting both as regards the caretta-caretta and green turtles, which proves the success of the effort that began 42 years ago,” she said.

Marcou explained that the baby turtles, after hatching, come out of their nest during the night and head towards the sea since it is the brightest point of the horizon. When there are artificial sources of light, the turtles are disoriented and go towards them instead , she said, urging people living near beaches where there are sea turtle nests keep their lighting to a minimum, to help the baby turtles in their first steps to the sea.

According to Marcou there has been an increase in nesting by the two sea turtle species with the Lara-Toxeftra area in Polis Chrysochous being the centre of this activity.

She said the caretta-caretta turtles lay their eggs in the Polis-Yialia areas but during past few years the same species was located also in the Kiti-Pervolia area.

The area of Limni in Polis Chrysochous, she said, is the second in density as regards nesting of loggerhead turtles (caretta-caretta) per square metre compared to other areas and is the second, after Kyparissia beach in Greece.

She said the Lara-Toxeftra area is considered very important also for the green turtle, because, in the Mediterranean Sea, this turtle breeds only in Cyprus, Turkey and to a lesser extent in Syria.

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