We believe that the more we know about turtles and what they need, the better able we are to protect them.
We also believe in the power of hands on experience to inspire young people to think and care about species conservation. This will then motivate them to act positively to help protect threatened species such as turtles, and to spread the word to others at home.
Young people on our projects take part in active data collection and learn about current issues in marine biology and species conservation. Many groups are even lucky enough to snorkel near wild sea turtles. Nothing compares to the experience of seeing these animals free in their natural environment.
For the last few years we have been working on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey gathering data on the nesting loggerhead turtle population. Loggerheads return back to the beach that they were born on to lay their eggs. Many of these beaches are being altered by human activity such as buildings, beach furniture and lighting. These factors can disturb nesting turtles and even prevent them from laying their eggs.
We are trying to learn about what makes a good nesting area for loggerhead turtles. We are gathering data over a number of years to see how many turtles nest on our study beach, where they nest and what are the features of the areas they nest in.
Each year we identify and map all the nests on the beach. We then calculate the gradient of the area where the nest is, and also measure the size of the grains of sand in that area. We then look at where and what are the nearest human-made features to the nest.
The data that we gather is sent to Cardiff University to be analysed. We are very proud that this data has been used there in an excellent student thesis
We work together with local turtle conservation volunteers to help identify and protect the turtle nests. We put special wire cones over the turtle nests to identify where they are and protect them from being dug up.
These volunteer groups recognise the need for protecting the turtles that have always nested on their local beaches. We like to learn from them and also share our findings.
We are committed to continuing and improving our work with loggerheads in Turkey. We are now also planning a project that will contribute towards the protection of green and leatherback turtles in Costa Rica.