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The Loggerhead Sea Turtle or Caretta-Caretta, is the only marine turtle nesting in Greece and the Mediterranean. Zakynthos has the largest hatchery left in the Mediterranean where about 2,000 nests are laid annually. Kefalonia has a smaller population, with less than 150 nests between Skala and Lixouri.

The female turtles nest on the southern facing shoreline of the island. Many of these beaches are so far untouched by human development and therefore offer the turtles a safe place to nest, secluded from the outside world. However, in the past 20 years tourist development has been encroaching into these untouched nesting habitats.

The Katelios Group was founded in 1993 and has observed, monitored and recorded the feeding and breeding behaviour of the turtles nesting on these sandy beaches. Incorporating a conservation programme to promote the protection of these main nesting areas from any rapid development, most are already stable and therefore offer the females a safe nesting ground to lay their eggs. The Group currently monitors the nesting behaviour of the turtles on the main beach at Mounda Bay. The data collected is being used to produce a conservation plan in an effort to protect the turtles and their habitats throughout the island.

Research work starts in the spring, with the beaches firstly being cleaned of waste deposits left over the winter months.
The beach is then mapped and marked, allowing the exact positioning of each nest to be recorded. The nesting season is June to August during this time the beach is monitored nightly from 10.00 pm. to 6.00 am. where every emerging turtle from the sea is recorded. This includes the length and width of the shell and the health of each female. The nest position and the number of eggs in each clutch, each female can lay between 80 to 180 eggs. The tag numbers are recorded and turtles without tags are marked. After an incubation period of around 55-60 days, the hatchlings emerge late at night or early hours of the morning and make the precarious journey to sea.

These tiny creatures sense the right direction in which to go, because they are attracted to bright light. At night, the sea is the brightest area with the moonlight reflecting off the water. Each hatchling makes this journey often precarious over lots of obstacles such as sandcastles, holes and the chance of being eaten by seabirds before they reach the sea, so this made dash is two fold, the first to strengthen their muscles and the other survival. With the help and support of the local fisherman and compensation for any damaged nets, the support and co-existence of people and turtle, locals and tourists alike is giving valuable support and is essential in the protection of these nesting grounds.


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Fanari road, Lassi, Kefalonia

Tel: (+30) 26710 23438


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