Development of BEDEKA-2000 Project
Scientific researches of STRT in Belek
region have started with the financial support of Belek Tourism Investors
Association (BETUYAB) in 1999. BETUYAB, by continuing to support BEDEKA-2000
project, has exposed its consistency on the conservation of sea turtles. This is
the first time that a private affiliation sponsors a scientific research to
protect the sea turtles in Turkey and it is a very important step for the future
success of conservation studies.
This research was started with the
cooperation of Hacettepe University and BETUYAB and has been carried out with
the contribution of Turkish Ministry of Environment, the Authority for
Protecting Special Areas (APSA); Turkish Ministry of Environment, General
Directorate of Environment and Earthwatch Institute in 2000. The research is
carried out on an area of about 29,5km to take the system up as a whole. In the
light of data obtained from these studies, it has been revealed that the
importance of the region in terms of sea turtles was greater than it was
estimated in previous studies.
Extensive research by STRT in the
region has identified the major factors threatening the sea turtles and has
guided the development of highly applicable management plans necessary for their
Subsequent objective of STRT is to
continue the sea turtle monitoring studies in the region and to pioneer for the
application of management plans suggested for their conservation. STRT needs the
assistance of official authorities such as Ministry of Environment, the
Authority for Protecting Special Areas, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture
and Ministry of Agriculture; of local authorities such as regional
Municipalities; of administrators of tourism establishments and summer houses,
fishermen, native and foreign societies struggling for the conservation of sea
turtles in the region. STRT is willing to receive all kinds of help and
cooperation for making these objectives come true.
For Comments, Suggestions and Help;firstname.lastname@example.org
General Information About the Region
Area of research is in
Antalya province, within the borders of Serik and Manavgat and consists of a
beach of about 29,5km between River Aksu on the west and River Sarısu on the
east. The region is very rich in flora and fauna as it hosts various habitats
with different characteristics such as forest, river, stream, agricultural areas,
aquatic habitats and sand dunes. While five-star tourism establishments,
summerhouses and arbours occupy an important portion of the beach; there is no
construction in one part. Most part of the region is under protection
regulations such as "Belek Specially Protected Area" and "First
Degree Natural Site". Therefore, especially when the summerhouses present
in the Special Protection Area and the areas reserved as Tourism Development
Area are considered, there are several activities threatening the survival of
sea turtles in the region.
Sponsors of BEDEKA-2000 Project
Field Research in Belek Region
Field studies in the region are
conducted during May-September with a team of 30 people regarding the periods
when adult females and hatchlings emerge. Data collection during this period
have been carried out between 06°°-12°° in morning shifts and between 21°°-05°°
in night shifts by monitoring the sections with teams of 2-3 people.
All nests are recorded efficaciously in
morning shifts. In order to determine the exact places of nests, sand on the
nest surface is dug 10cm wide until the first eggs are visible and then the nest
is covered with the sand that has been dug out to prevent any possible change in
the temperature or moisture of the nest. Determined nests are marked by locating
sticks beneath the sand showing the nest number and nesting date. Tracks
determined during nesting period therefore are possible nests, are also marked
in the same way and are controlled for predation and/or hatchling emergence.
All nests determined during field
studies as well as any predation, caging, hatchling emergences and uncovering
for control are marked on the scale maps
in the office
in order to monitor the progress of all nests. Besides, daily collected data are
written down on the computer present in the office. In this way, all studies in
the region can be carried out systematically.
Nests in front of tourism
establishments are caged
against any possible human damage. In order to ensure a complete protection on
these nests, safety guards of the establishments are provided with necessary
information and are charged with keeping the nests safe from harm until the
All previously made nests are checked
during morning shifts. In case of coming across a predated nest, teams take down
necessary data regarding the predation date, nest number, number of
destroyed eggs in the egg chamber and whether there are any eggs left in the egg
chamber. The nest is covered after this procedure. Number of destroyed eggs is
determined by counting the empty eggshells around the nest after predation.
In areas where high predation density
is in question, surface cages are used against predation. These cages are placed
on the egg chamber about 10cm under the sand to prevent being seen from the
surface. The cell size of these cages is designed to allow the hatchling pass
but prevent predation. In order to prevent mortality because of getting stuck in
these cells, all cages are kept under strict control during hatchling emergence
In morning shifts carried out during
hatchling emergence period; nests from which hatchlings have emerged, date of
emergence, number of dead and/or alive hatchlings on the egg chamber, number of
hatchlings that have been able or unable to reach the sea are determined by
taking notice of the hatchling tracks on the sand. We try to assess the possible
causes of hatchling mortality by following the tracks of predators and
hatchlings that have failed to reach the sea.
Hatchling dispersal diagrams are used
to assess how much the hatchlings are affected by artificial lights. In order to
assess the effects of artificial lights in specific areas, an experiment
media have been prepared in 2000. This experiment media is set
up on previously determined locations between 17°°-20°° at
night and the experiments are conducted between 21°°-04°° . Hatchlings are
kept in a pool set up on the beach and filled with seawater until the experiment
starts. Approximately 100 hatchlings are used for each experiment and are
released to the sea when the experiment is completed.
At a certain period after the hatchling
emergence is finished, the nests are uncovered for control to determine the
number of dead and/or alive hatchlings in the egg chamber, total number of
hatchling emergence (regarding the number of empty egg shells), number of
damaged eggs and their embryonic stages. Total number of hatchling emergence is
determined by taking notice of the number of empty egg shells counted during
uncovering for control and is compared to the data taken down regarding the
hatchling tracks during hatchling emergence period.
desk is established in Belek in order to provide tourist and local people
information which works between 19°°-23°°.
Importance of Belek Region in terms of Sea Turtles
Number of nests determined during two
years, have revealed the fact that Belek region is the second largest known
nesting area for sea turtles after the Zakynthos Island of Greece. This result
puts forward the strong need of paying more attention to the conservation
studies in the region in order to preserve the sea turtles as one of Turkey's
important biological riches as well as to fulfill the responsibilities we have
overtaken in terms of signing international conventions.
In the area of 29,5 kilometers, 612 Caretta
caretta nests and 2 Chelonia mydas nests have been determined during
the nesting season in year 1999, while 682 Caretta caretta nests and 8 Chelonia
mydas nests have been determined during the nesting season in year 2000.
These results showed that the region is a "Primarily Vulnerable
Region for Sea Turtles".
Conservation and Problems of Sea Turtles in the Region
arising from tourism in the region have started as a result of
wrong decisions and applications practiced before. A considerable part of the
region was sentenced as a "Tourism Development Area" and a
considerable number of tourism establishments have been constructed. Furthermore,
another considerable amount of construction is present in the summerhouses
area. Summerhouses between Acısu-Köprüçay, despite the fact that they are
located at the far back of the beach, do have a serious negative impact on the
sea turtles because of artificial lighting. Another empty area where no
construction is present yet, is extracted beyond the limits of special
protection area and is reserved as a tourism development area. Some parts of the
beach are occupied by arbours
used by local people.
There is still a considerable chance in
areas where construction is planned but has not started. Therefore, as it is not
possible to remove all negative factors threatening the sea turtles in areas
where construction is completed or about to be completed, studies in these areas
may only involve minimizing the negativities.
Considerable amount of predation by
foxes and stray dogs is present in areas where is no construction so far.
All problems of sea turtles in the
region and applicable suggestions aimed at the solution of these problems are
given in detail in "Biology, Conservation and
Management of Caretta caretta in Belek Tourism Area".