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21 May, 2024
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Green Sea Turtle rescued in Limassol returns to the sea

Mediterranean green sea turtles are critically endangered species

Newsroom / CNA

A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) which was found wounded in Limassol last June was returned to the sea yesterday after receiving treatment by the Fisheries and Maritime Research Department.

Environment Minister Costas Kadis who was present said the conservation of biodiversity and marine diversity are priorities for his ministry. The turtle was symbolically named Eleftheria (Liberty).

Cyprus hosts two sea turtle species, the green sea turtle and the loggerhead turtle also known as Caretta Caretta. They are both protected by international conventions and European directives and reflect on the quality of the seas around Cyprus. The green turtle is listed as endangered but the Mediterranean population is considered critically endangered. Green sea turtles, like other sea turtle species are particularly susceptible to population declines because of their vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts.

This means habitat degradation at nesting beaches and feeding areas, entanglement in marine fisheries and drift nets, all pose a huge danger for the peaceful sea creature. Nesting habitat degradation results also from the construction of buildings and anti-erosion beach armoring. The presence of lights on or adjacent to nesting beaches alters the behavior of nesting adults and is often fatal to emerging hatchlings as they are attracted to light sources and drawn away from the water. Habitat degradation in the marine environment results also from increased contamination from coastal development, construction of marinas and increased boat traffic.

Minister Kadis asked for the public’s help in flagging incidents where turtles are located wounded. Every year approximately ten sea turtles are found wounded and are treated at the marine research centre in Meneou, Larnaca and are later released back into the sea.

A study was also announced on the protection of seals found at the Sea Caves in Paphos.

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