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Baby turtles see the light of day at Alagadi Beach

Many sea turtles venture to North Cyprus every year to lay their eggs on the beaches around Alagadi. In August when the eggs hatch and the tiny turtles take their first glimpse of light out from beneath the sand, many curious tourists come to witness the spectacle.

New Cyprus Magazine was there when the talented volunteers from the organization SPOT (Society for the Protection of Turtles) dug up the hatchlings on Alagadi Turtle Beach.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypernThe group meets at the Goat Shed at Alagadi Beach.

 

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern
Together with the volunteers from SPOT you head down to the beach.

The sea turtles lay their eggs in different places on the beach. The volunteers have the task of finding the locations and to clearly mark them. Then a metal mesh is added over the area to protect the eggs from being dug up by animals such as dogs and foxes. Then a white metal frame, called a dome cage, is fitted for extra protection and to mark the place so that people will see it and avoid stepping there. The volunteers do a very important job, it is crucial to whether the baby turtles will manage to survive.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypernA dome cage that protects the nest.

Two types of sea turtles venture to Alagadi to lay their eggs, the loggerhead and green sea turtle. The day we attended the excavation it was a green sea turtle’s nest we were going to excavate. At best, most turtles manage to crawl up through the sand, but some may have been left behind and need the help of the volunteers to surface from the sand.

The time has passed five in the afternoon when we arrive at the turtles nest.

The volunteers, who are young students from the UK, lift off the safety net and sit down on their knees to start digging in the sand. The knowledgeable volunteer Gabby says that green sea turtles always come back and lay their eggs at the spot where they themselves were born.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypernThe volunteers begin to dig into the soft sand.

Suddenly we hear a little cheer in the crowd around the turtles nest. The volunteers have found the egg chamber deep down in the sand and a small turtle is gently lifted out. Gabby walks around with the hatchling so that all curious spectators will get a chance to look at it.

The volunteers find another four live turtles; they put them in a bucket of sand that they cover over with a towel. These turtles had remained in the nest for more than three days, and without the volunteers help, they had most likely never seen the light of day. The rest of the nest consists of hatched and un-hatched eggs. The hatched eggs were also taken out to be counted, so that the volunteers could calculate how many turtles managed to get out of the sand on their own. With the eggs that had not hatched there is often something wrong, so they take them up and examine each egg. If they are round and white, there is a chance that they can be buried in the sand again and hatched later.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypernThe first turtle sees the light.

Gabby says that turtles usually emerge from the nest and head down to the water at night, when the temperature is cooler. Temperature is also the factor which decides what sex the turtle becomes. Above a certain temperature determines the sex of the turtles to be female. In this nest it looks like most hatchlings turned out to be females.

They also measure the nest to determine if the female that laid the eggs was healthy. Healthy green turtles lay between 100-150 eggs.

The volunteers push the sand back down into the nest and together we start walking back to the Goat Shed, with us are the hatchlings in the bucket. Later in the evening, we will jointly release the baby turtles into the sea.

See SPOT on Facebook for more information and the relevant times for the excavation of the turtle nests.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern
Gabby tells us about the turtles.
sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern
Tourists lying and sunbathing on the beach join the group of curious spectators.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern
The eggshells are counted.

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

sköldpaddor alagadi norra cypern

 

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About Maria Eriksson 1608 Articles
Maria likes to express her-self in both image and text. Having previously lived and worked in Australia specializing in wedding and portrait photography. Maria desires to see and experience new and interesting places with new eyes, and therefore is often on the move. On trips she brings inspiration and ideas for image making. Recently, Maria worked with property photography for various brokerage firms in Sweden. Since March 2014, she resides in North Cyprus.