Greek Cypriots Attempt to Prevent Turtle Protection in Conservation Area

Greek Cypriots Attempt to Prevent Turtle Protection in Conservation AreaIn North Cyprus we have had problems with ignorance disrupting Turtle protection but not to the degree that was experienced at Polis Chrysochous beach. There were unbelievable scenes when the community leader and residents of Argakas attempted to prevent a team from the turtle protection programme from doing their work.

The incident was observed by foreign experts who are in Cyprus to observe an educational programme on turtle protection being implemented here in cooperation with the Council of Europe. Also present was a representative from the permanent committee on the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wild Life and Natural Habitats of the Council of Europe.

According to the newspaper, the incident took place at beach near the Santa Barbara kiosk, within the Natura 2000 and the Yialia special conservation zones which include the main nesting beaches for the loggerhead and green turtle in Chrysochous Bay.

It said that the team had gone to the beach but received a call from the community leader of Argakas wrongly telling them that they did not have the permission of the local authority and should leave. The team obviously ignored the call and went about their work, placing predator exclusion cages over turtle nests, in line with the agreement with the Fisheries Department.

The community leader arrived on the beach and tried to stop them even standing over one nest and not allowing the placing of a cage claiming that there were no turtle eggs there. When the police arrived they asked the team to leave the area, thus halting the important work.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said that statements have been taken as police investigate a case of impeding the work of the programme for the protection of sea turtles.

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