70,000 Loggerhead Sea Turtles are Expected to Trek to the Sea in Belek

Among the largest loggerhead sea turtle nesting areas in the Mediterranean region, Belek, Antalya is expecting to see 70,000 loggerhead sea turtles from 700 nests to reach the sea. Loggerhead sea turtles are among the endangered species in the world and Belek, Antalya which is one of the largest nesting areas in the Mediterranean region is expected to witness 70,000 sea turtles from 700 nests reach the sea.

This year, 150 volunteers keep watch on the beaches of Belek Tourism Center as part of the Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Project, led by Hacettepe University Lecturer and President of Ecological Research Association (EKAD) Dr. Ali Fuat Canbolat.


The team watches and protects the nesting sites in Belek and Boğazkent coasts. Reaching the adolescence under the supervision of the team, the sea turtle offspring from May have began to reach the sea. EKAD President Ali Fuat Canbolat told Anadolu Agency reporter that this year, around 1700 nests were made in the area.

Canbolat, stating that due to cooler temperatures this year, the eggs hatched about 15 days later than usual, added “Eggs usually start hatching from 10th of July. But this year, it has started as late as the 25th of July. Hatching is expected to continue until late-September. We expect that 70,000 baby turtles will reach the sea in Belek. Not every baby survive even after reaching the sea. Almost one or two out of a thousand hatchlings survive in the sea. Even this number, however, is sufficient to save the species from extinction.”

Canbolat pointed out that the number of nests and hatchlings in Belek has fallen slightly compared to the previous year; however, added that the rate of decline is not concerning as long as it does not become consistent. Having said that they have set up a medical center from tents for the loggerhead sea turtles, he continued as follows: “In Belek Tourism Center, due to the efforts made and the climate change the number of nests, which was only 400 in 1998, has risen to 2000 in average. We have made great efforts to achieve this result. It has taken great devotion and sleepless nights. Our volunteers stay at tents and prefabricated houses from May to the end of September. They are endeavoring to save the loggerhead sea turtles while people of their age enjoy the summer. This, however, is a very rewarding experience for these youths. We need to respect the habitat of these species. Tractors, ATVs and other off-road vehicles should be kept away from the nesting sites. We have had a tractor incident recently. I ask the people of Belek to show awareness in this regard. The awareness of our people is rising with every passing day.”

Canbolat concluded his speech by emphasizing that the conservation of nature and these vulnerable species is not the responsibility of volunteers and academics alone and that everyone should do their part for our nature.