Saving Turtles in Turkey  

Nearly 70% of turtles in the Mediterranean Sea nest on the beaches of Turkey.

battleface visits İztuzu Beach and the headquarters of conservationist organisation DEKAMER  to experience the rehabilitation of injured turtles and see how conservation initiatives are intertwined with tourism.

Iztuzu Beach, photo credit @goturkiye

İztuzu Beach is near Dalyan, in the Ortaca district of Muğla in southwestern Turkey. The 4.5km beach is a narrow peninsula that forms a natural barrier between the freshwater delta of the Dalyan river and the Mediterranean Sea.

Grid cages protecting the turtle’s nests. Foxes, badgers and other animals eat sea turtle eggs whenever possible. Caging the nests is a useful method to prevent predation.

The beach is one of the main breeding grounds for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean and holds a protected status in the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area.

Data shows that turtles will most likely nest on İztuzu Beach at a certain distance from the sea. Designated protection zones are set up on the beach to minimise human impact on nests.
DEKAMER employs rangers to patrol the beach and nesting sites while a programme for volunteers brings young people from all over the world to participate in turtle conservation initiatives.

Injured turtles are frequently brought to the DEKAMER centre where specialist teams of marine scientists and veterinarians assess how they can be healed and returned to sea.

Much of the success the DEKAMER has achieved since its inception in 2009 has been public engagement and education.
Satellite data from the project tracking ‘Tuba’; a 25-year old female loggerhead turtle released from the DEKAMER rescue centre. The data shows Tuba’s location from August 2019 to August 2022.

DEKAMER is supported by Tui Care Foundation under the project Turtles and Tourism can be Together, designed to increase awareness about sea turtle conservation in tourism areas in the South Aegean coasts of Turkey.

A ferry boat from Dalyan city passes beneath The Tombs of Kings as its carries tourists by river to İztuzu Beach.

Track a turtle, volunteer or learn more about DEKAMER

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An avid international traveller, surfer, lover of the oceans, writer and researcher. Specialising in green travel and tourism.