Two adult green sea turtles, named Damianos and Kostis, found injured in the sea off the coast of Limassol a few months ago, were released back in the sea on Wednesday.
They were released by the department of fisheries at the Cyprus Marine Aquaculture Research Centre (CyMARC) in Meneou after being nursed back to health.
The Pandoteira project, under which the two green sea turtles were released and reintegrated into their natural environment, focuses on the management of the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus and aims at making the network more efficient, functional and sustainable.
People who attended the release at CyMARC were also briefed on the state of sea turtles in Cyprus waters and advised on how to act around them when underwater activities are carried out.
They were also informed about the importance of the Natura 2000 network, especially in terms of the protection of sea turtles.
“It is a very nice day always when we are invited to such events,” said Environment Commissioner Celia Vassiliou.
“The release of animals back to nature is always a moment of great happiness.”
Senior officer at the department of fisheries Vassilis Papadopoulos also expressed his hope that the two turtles will be able to cope fully after their return to their natural habitat.
“We have invited people involved in underwater activities to share this experience with us as part of our effort to raise public awareness for the protection of this iconic species that Cyprus hosts.”
Executive director of Terra Cypria Lefkios Sergides, who was also present during the event, said that the Pandoteira project, fully funded by the European Union, was launched in 2019 and will last for ten years.
“Its aim is to protect and conserve Cyprus’ Natura 2000 sites and the species and habitats that are part of the sites.”
He also explained that the Pandoteira project is coordinated by the department of fisheries and involves partners from 12 different governmental and non-governmental agencies, academic institutions and environmental agencies.