BELEK (Antalya)

General Information:
The research site in Belek region covers an approximately 29.5 km shoreline that is located in the city of Antalya between the districts of Serik and Manavgat, bordered with Aksu River on the west and Sarısu River on the east. The region itself is very rich in floral and faunal elements due to the presence of various habitats with different characteristics such as forests, rivers, streams, brackish waters, agricultural areas, areas that become wetland in winters, and sand dunes. Tourism facilities, secondary residences and portable huts inhabit a considerable portion of the nesting beach, whereas some parts of the beach are still construction-free.

Importance of The Region In Terms of Sea Turtles :
The 29.5 km long Belek beach occupies a significant position by being the largest sea turtle nesting site in Turkey and the second largest known nesting site in the entire Mediterranean. The fact that the region is primarily a tourism centre and a secondary residence area brings along great problems concerning sea turtles. EKAD has been doing its best to improve the cooperation between tourism - local people - nature conservation studies in order to slow down the decline in sea turtle populations. The point reached after 8 years of effort is as positive as even scientific authorities may never doubt. Studies we carry out in Belek, which now has a status of "First Degree of Importance as a Sea Turtle Nesting Area", also serve for fulfilling the responsibilities brought upon our country by the international treaties we have signed.

Studies in The Region

Field Studies:
Field studies in the region are carried out by a team consisting of about 30 people, between May-September regarding the periods of emergence of adults and hatchlings. During those periods, data collection is carried out between 06°°-12°° in morning shifts and between 21°°-05°° in night shifts by teams of 2-3 people in each sub-section.

Morning shifts include census and recording of nests, marking nests with sticks showing date and number, taking "non-nested or possibly-nested adult track" records in cases where we fail to determine the location of a nest, and daily inspecting all these for future predations and during hatchling emergence period. We also enter all information about those nests and their progress to our database, while monitoring them at the same time by plotting them on scaled maps in our office.

We cage the nests located either in front of tourism facilities or in areas prone to natural predation to prevent any possible undesired damage, provide the necessary information to the security staff of establishments where we place the cages, and make sure that they keep the nests safe until hatchlings come out.

Studies carried out during the hatchling emerging period include tracing hatchling tracks on sand to determine the nests they belong to, their dates, and number of hatchlings (dead and/or alive) stuck in nests, collecting data concerning the number of hatchlings which have emerged, reached the sea, and/or failed to reach the sea, and investigating the cause of death for hatchlings that have failed to reach the sea.

After a certain period of time, we conduct control openings in order to determine the hatchling success and to compare the data we obtain from the nests with the previous data obtained by tracing hatchling tracks.

Educational Studies:
Info-Desk in Belek Centre
Seminars for Hotel Personnel
Briefing Studies for Tourists
Beach Talks
Sea Turtle Education Seminars for Local Authorities
Briefing Studies for Tradesmen
Educational Seminars and Activities for Local Schools

Click for more information about Belek Volunteer Program...

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