By Zehra Aydin Turapoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Over 199,000, the highest number till date, loggerhead turtle hatchlings have reached sea in specially protected environmental areas of Turkey, according to officials.
With the novel coronavirus outbreak that caused people to stay indoors as part of measures to curb the virus’s spread, the number of Caretta caretta nests doubled in coastal areas, officials from Environment and Urbanization Ministry’s Directorate of Protection of Natural Heritage told Anadolu Agency.
This year, a total of 199,096 hatchlings made it to the sea from 4,785 nests in the five special protection areas, where sea turtles are being monitored and protected by the directorate.
There is a total of 22 nesting spots in Turkey, including the five protected ones -- Belek, Patara, Koycegiz-Dalyan, Fethiye-Gocek, and Goksu Delta in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.
According to the latest figures of the ministry, over 84,000 hatchlings reached the sea from 2,105 nests in 2018 and nearly 94,000 hatchlings from 2,266 nests in 2019.
These turtles build a 20- to 24-inch deep nest on the beach.
After a 45-65 days long incubation period, hatchlings try to reach the sea by following the moonlight, but artificial light often makes them to lose their way and die.
*Contributions and writing by Sena Guler