DALYAN Caretta Caretta
Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta) are on the IUCN Red list of endangered species. In the seas surrounding Dalyan iztuzu, beach most visits by Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) turtles. The Loggerheads Caretta Caretta turtles may weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. It eats crabs and other sea animals for food. You can recognize it by its large, thick head and broad short neck. They all return to the same beach where they themselves hatched in order to lay their eggs when they reach maturity. This ability to swim sometimes thousands of km to reach their beach of origin. this is still a mystery.
The sea turtles lay their eggs on certain beaches only. These beaches are their breeding season is between (May 1 to October 1). They lay approximately 100 eggs in each nest they dig in the breeding season. Then they hide their eggs by covering up with sand and return back to the sea. Females reach adulthood around 20-25 years and find their way to the beaches that they have hatched out. In short, they return to the same beaches for breeding. The eggs hatch out 2 months later. On their way into the sea, young turtles struggle with their predators at night. If they can escape from them, they reach the sea within 10-15 minutes.
All kinds of noise, artificial lighting and human activities frighten the young and cause them to wander and get away from the water. The endangered Carettta Caretta, sea turtles, face becoming extinct due to the threats such as foxes, jackals, dogs, birds, crabs, fish and the destruction of their breeding habitats by human beings. Today, the nesting habitats of sea turtles have been considerably lost and degraded. Commercial exploitation of the sea turtles has also contributed to their decline to endangered species status. Turkey is one of the last remaining nesting habitats in the World.
The beach is protected nationally since 1988 as part of the Koycegiz - Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area (SPA) by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Terms of the protection were influenced by June Haimoff's proposal for national park status and by campaigning by other conservationists, including the Turkish NGO DHKD.
Protection of the beach is excellent due to 24-hour patrolling by Ministry officials and annual monitoring by university ecologists.
Natural materials are used for the beach facilities, including the umbrellas and sunbeds (which are made locally); three cafes in total, but all are small, three showers at one end, one at the other, and a small number of changing cabins at each end; no speed boats or jet skis
Daily cleaning of beach, with plenty of bins at both ends for visitors, including pots filled with sand for cigarette butts; evidence of some rubbish on river bank at the back of the beach so patrols there may be less frequent.
SEA TURTLES RESEARCH, RESCUE & REHABILITATION CENTRE
The Turtle sanctuary was set up to assist these injured turtles on their road to recovery. Whilst it is primarily set up for the endangered loggerhead turtles the sanctuary will also look after the more common green sea turtles.Located on Turtle Beach, the turtle sanctuary is ideally located for the purpose it was set up for. The premises, if you can call them that, consist of no more than a metal frame with a roof on the top. There are no in-fill panels or walls and it is totally open. Under the roof are numerous large holding tanks used to house the turtles whilst they are recovering.
Students and volunteers run look after the turtle sanctuary, and they do a great job. Whilst walking around the sanctuary the students and volunteers were tending to the turtles and answering any questions visitors had. Whilst the students didn't speak fluent English, they spoke enough to get by. It is clear that all the students are passionate about the turtles and are very dedicated. Every morning the students walk the beach to look for injured turtles, or baby turtles that didn't make it to the sea by daylight. The babies are susceptible to predators during daylight, therefore any found in the mornings will be collected by the students and taken to the sanctuary for the day before being taken back to the sea during the hours of darkness.