WWF Turkey keeps up turtle protection efforts

July 19, 2008, Saturday/ 19:46:00
The World Wide Fund Turkey (WWF Turkey) has continued efforts to protect turtles nesting on Turkey's coasts, promoting an ongoing turtle adoption program and collaborating with provincial environment directorates.WWF Turkey has seen a strong response in the last few years to its turtle adoption campaign, which encourages the sponsorship of baby sea turtles for YTL 10. This money is then used for turtle protection programs. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, campaign director Tayla Enriquez explained that female sea turtles generally begin coming ashore to lay their eggs in June.

Sea turtle species, such as the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), that nest on Turkey's Mediterranean coast face many threats to their survival. Trash that is thrown or blown into the sea can be mistaken for food by turtles and cause choking and eventual death. Turtles can also be injured by the practice of dragnet fishing, in which large nets indiscriminately capture everything in their path. Some fishermen who wrongly believe that the sea turtles are a threat to their catch have been known to club the turtles, leaving them seriously maimed or dead. Other threats include unplanned development, commercial beach umbrellas, recreational vehicles used on shores and lighting near the beach, Enriquez stated.

Enriquez noted that WWF Turkey and provincial forestry and environment directorates have signed an agreement to support the protection of sea turtles on the southern Adana and Antalya coasts. "The campaign initiated by WWF Turkey saw the adoption of 2,500 sea turtles in 2006. Nearly 25,000-30,000 baby sea turtles will hatch on the Akyatan coast of Adana this season. Also, on the Çıralı coast of Antalya, a considerable number of baby sea turtles will be released into the sea. You can also adopt one of these baby sea turtles for YTL 10 and be part of their protection."

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