The Mediterranean is home to two of the seven remaining species of sea turtles left in the world. These are the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) and Green Turtle (Chelonia Mydas), both of which lay their eggs on the beaches of Northern Cyprus.
The turtles in the Mediterranean are smaller than those found in larger oceans and the loggerheads that nest in North Cyprus are the smallest in the world.
North Cyprus has the 3rd and 5th most important nesting beaches in the Mediterranean for the green turtle. It is estimated that 10% of the Mediterranean's Loggerheads and 25% of Greens lay eggs on the beaches of North Cyprus.
Turtle activity takes place from June to September. June and July is when the turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs. August and September is when the hatchlings make their way to the sea.
During the summer months volunteer students, organised by Exeter University, monitor turtle activity at Alagadi beach (a few miles east of Kyrenia). Between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am the students patrol the beach on the lookout for turtles coming ashore to nest.
You can arrange to go out with the students for a night, but the numbers are limited, so if you would like to volunteer you would be advised to book it with them a week or so in advance. Later in the season when the excavation of the nests is being done there’s no limit on the numbers.
When a turtle nests successfully the place and date are recorded in order to ascertain the date (50 - 60 days later) the nest will hatch.
You can visit www.seaturtle.org/tracking/ and follow the migration of a green turtle called Celia who was fitted with a tracking last season. Or even adopt a turtle for £20.00. The project relies totally on donations, sales of tee shirts and other turtle memorabilia, so needs all the support it can get. Do visit the small base and shop housed close to the Algadi Beach, 15 minutes east of Kyrenia on the coast road.
A Turkish/German group under the supervision of the Ministry for the Environment is carrying out monitoring of the turtles in the Karpaz. Visitors are able to stay at Golden Beach (from where the operation is controlled).
North Cyprus is famous for its Caretta-Caretta Turtles and for the last 17 years the movement of these creatures has been closely monitored by various organisations. Most recently, a British team from Exeter University has maintained a presence and base close to the nesting ground. The Alagadi beach, located 15 minutes east of Kyrenia, attracts many visitors due the endangered Turtles that nest here during Mid-May until Mid-October. The beaches can be used, but nests are protected with cages and those swimming are warned not to disturb the nests. At night you can take part in “Turtle Watch” and see these endangered turtles hatching nests and running back into the sea.