ARCHELON is the association for the protection of the sea turtle Caretta caretta in Greece. Established in 1983, is a non-profit association and has an active role in the study and protection of marine turtle populations and their habitats, management of coastal ecosystems in the most important nesting beaches, the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles and raiding the public awareness.

Among other sea turtle species, the loggerhead is also an endangered species and Greece is the most important nesting area throughout the Mediterranean, although these turtles are still in danger every day from the fishing gear, destruction of habitat and nesting beaches, pollution of the sea and deliberate killings.

 

In June 2013 and 2014 I had the pleasure to work voluntarily in ARCHELON, both years in Crete field program and particularly the famous Matala. As volunteers we had many duties, as long as I was our competences focused on the protection of female turtles during the nesting period, their nests and the eggs, recording and collecting data as well as to ensure the coexistence of marine turtle with people.

   

Data collection was taking place through the morning observation every dawn, by recording the reproductive activity of turtles during the night. It requires physical strength because it may continue during the hot hours of the day. Other activities in which I participated were the protection of nests from human activities and predation by various animals by putting a small fence around and marking them. Nests that were at unsafe points transferred to safer places on the beach or in hatcheries. Also during night observation, well-trained volunteers highlight the female turtles without disturb the nesting process. And finally, excavate nests after the completion of the output of chicks for assessing the number of chicks that eventually came out of the nest.

   

 


Leaving in Matala was a special experience that helped me to learn and understand a lot about the biology and behaviour of the species but also offered me the opportunity to participate in education efforts of the local population and tourists visiting the area.

 

The summer programms of Archelon take place in the Ionian sea in Zakynthos and Cyparissia, in Crete, specifically in Chania, Rethymnon and Messara Bay (Matala). But also volunteers can help in the winter period in the Rescue Center located in Glyfada, by treating approximately 50 turtles per year. For anyone who wants to learn more about the project and the actions of the Association, can visit the official website: http://www.archelon.gr/

   

                                

          
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