DEKAMER - One visit
We stayed in Dalyan, a small village on the southern coast of Turkey, for a few days. We were only 10 minutes from the Iztuzu beach, previously awarded the best beach in Europe. Iztuzu beach is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches and a turtle nesting beach. It is the season for nesting, so we popped down for a visit.
The beach is one of the rare beaches between seawater and freshwater. The beach was called "Turtle Beach" due to the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) laying their eggs.
A Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center called DEKAMER is located at the beach where injured turtles are rescued and treated. The centre is set up all year-round to help educate the public about conservation efforts. DEKAMER act as the regular monitoring of the Dalyan beach for nesting activities by accepting volunteers from all universities. Any injured turtles found along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey are also brought to the centre and will take care of their necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation.
During the day, visitors are allowed to enjoy the beach and guided to set up behind the logs as the turtles' nest here; obviously, this simple instruction was commonly ignored by the tourists! Fortunately, the rehab centre and volunteers work hard to protect the nests by placing a protective cage over the eggs until they are ready to hatch. The beach closes at 8pm, and the turtles who have come all the way from Mexico each year come to nest at night.
DEKAMER, the turtle rehabilitation centre, is doing remarkable work protecting the beach and turtles from all the tourists and educating them on how to respect these lovely animals. They are also busy rescuing and treating injured turtles.
It was fascinating to hear the stories about the turtles' nesting; once they nest, they leave their eggs and continue moving; they can lay up to 1000 over 25-30 years.
We met lovely Lenad, who was being treated for buoyancy disorder after thinking a plastic bag in the ocean was a jellyfish; she is now unable to dive, and they need to protect her shell. She is floating due to air in her belly, and she will take a few years to heal and be released!!
The importance of keeping rubbish where it belongs is paramount to the safety of these beautiful animals in addition to the environment.
It was a wonderful experience learning about these precious animals. Congratulations to the lovely and kind DEKAMER volunteers keeping the turtles safe, treating them and protecting their home Iztuzu Beach.