Thanks to volunteers and the local government, the population of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in Turkey is on the rise this year.
More and more baby loggerheads slowly made their way to the sea in the past couple of week after the eggs hatched. The number of baby loggerheads is expected to reach 40,000 this year.
So far, the loggerhead turtles laid their eggs in 520 nests, which are put under the protection of the Muğla-based Sea Turtles Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER).
Turkey's Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning supervised the protection works. Experts said loggerheads will likely make 100 more nests, which will add to the population in the upcoming years.
Dalyan and İztuzu Beach in northern Turkey are important breeding spots for loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean coast. There are 21 loggerhead nesting spots in the Aegean province of Muğla and the Mediterranean provinces of Antalya, Mersin, Adana and Hatay.
However, there is no doubt that the most popular nesting area for these turtles is the İztuzu Beach in Muğla, and it was placed under government protection in 2015.
Volunteers come to İztuzu Beach in summer and every month a team of at least 100 volunteers takes care of these giant sea turtles. The volunteers come to the beach from all over Turkey and over the last couple of years, the program has also attracted international volunteers from the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.