Akdeniz beach – Caretta Restaurant endangers Loggerhead Turtles

Caretta caretta - Loggerhead Turtle

In 2006, the EU started a project to “support to the Turkish Cypriot community as regards management and protection
of potential ‘NATURA 2000’ sites in the northern part of Cyprus.” The report stated that:

“the Akdeniz beach is also one of the seven most important nesting areas for both species of sea turtles in the northern part of Cyprus. This area is under particularly great threat because of its proximity to possible tourism development. Designation of this area as a Special Protected Area will preserve this important natural habitat for the long-term.”

Akdeniz Beach has so far not received the status of Special Protection Area and whatever the EU project may be trying to do, one thing is sure, it is not being successful in protecting Loggerhead Turtles. In June 2009, with official approval, Caretta Beach and Restaurant was opened. The restaurant was named after Caretta caretta, the very Loggerhead Turtles its presence is endangering.

Estimates of 20-50 nests in that area could soon be pushed downwards as increasing visitor numbers cause damage and disrupt the hatching of the endangered Loggerhead Turtles in the Summer. As always, it seems that in north Cyprus economics comes before the environment and in doing so turns that once popular description of north Cyprus as the “corner of earth touched by heaven” into a running joke.

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