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Bases call for action to safeguard turtle nests


 

With 107 turtle nests reported thus far, Bases environmental experts have urged the public to use caution while visiting beaches within the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA).

According to a press release issued by SBA, on beaches inside the bases, the endangered Green and Loggerhead turtles lay their eggs, but as summer draws to a peak, the threat to those nests is more and more evident.

BEACHGOERS SHOULD BE CAREFUL OF THE NESTING SITES

As tens of thousands of visitors and local beachgoers crowded the shoreline, and Alexia Perdiou, senior environment officer for SBA Administration, stated that it was crucial that the nesting sites not be disturbed.

She explained: “The first female turtles began laying their eggs at the beginning of May and the Environment Department co-ordinates turtle conservation work, focusing on minimum intervention and by following international best practices, mirroring the work undertaken in the rest of Cyprus.

“Once turtle nests are identified they are demarcated with a protective aluminium cage, with a ring placed around the cage buried in the sand to prevent other animals from disturbing the nests. Hatchlings are then left on their own to emerge naturally from nests and make their way to the sea.”

€17,000 FINE OR THREE YEARS IN JAIL FOR DISTURBING TURTLE NESTS

Perdiou claims that the threat of fines of up to €17,000 or three years in jail for disturbing nests by people is an effective deterrent.

She continued: “The SBA Authorities will be undertaking robust enforcement action throughout the nesting season, ending in October, to prevent and report damaging activities.’’

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The SBA Administration closely collaborates with Republic of Cyprus authorities and non-governmental organisations to adopt protective measures, such as limiting vehicle access, installing security cameras, and putting up information boards to educate people about the significance of the sites.

Perdiou also highlighted education and cooperation as a key protection measure: “The Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre continue to deliver turtle awareness programmes to hundreds of school children every year and the sustainable management of important species and habitats can only be achieved through joint work and partnerships of the competent and local authorities and the people using these sensitive areas.”

 


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