The Caretta Project recently came to Mojácar, whose beaches could become a nesting place for these gentle sea turtles. The Project is a division of the Serbal Association and Almeria Biodiversity involved in study and recovery work, with the aim to raising awareness and ensuring safe nests along Almería’s coast.
The loggerhead (caretta) turtle is a threatened species and although it has had its home throughout the Mediterranean in the past, was not on our beaches for over 150 years. Through DNA, these amazing creatures retain in their genetic memory the place where their ancestors were born and their return is excellent environmental news for the province’s coast.
In order to raise awareness of the importance of the return of these turtles and the need for their careful respect, the Caretta Project held a session recently on the town’s Provençal beach, which although was largely aimed at children, everyone was keen to find out more. This educational, fun workshop included information on conservation and protection with all participants receiving a notebook that included advice on what to do in the case of a sighting. There were also role play games with the children acting as mother turtle and newborns along with the different predators that lie in wait as they make their way to the sea.
In this SERBAL protection initiative, which attempts to quickly observe a turtle’s presence and nest, everyone connected in some way with the beaches has been involved, be they lifeguards, maintenance and cleaning staff, restaurateurs and tourism companies. Also included, is also an important team of local environmental volunteers who are on guard for dealing with first attention and taking the necessary safety steps.
According to experts, these animals had their last nests in North Africa and, are moving to the Spanish coast due to climate change, in the search of cooler waters.
In recent years, nesting events have been recorded in Almeria at Vera and Pulpí and, as the females tend to lay their eggs in their birthplace, the Serbal project is extended along the Almerían coast, with Mojácar regarded as a very possible nesting site.