In May, female turtles will start emerging from the Mediterranean onto the shores of Turkey, Greece and Libya, as well as onto islands such as Cyprus, Crete and Sicily. They will crawl laboriously up the beaches to dig their nests and lay their eggs, continuing an annual miracle of evolution that has been taking place for more than 200 million years. On North Cyprus last year, just over 2,400 nests were recorded, an all-time high, and 10 times more than the number counted during the first proper survey carried out in 1988. Bucking many global wildlife trends, green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) numbers in the Mediterranean (the only two species that breed there) are on the rise. “Numbers have increased a lot because of the protection [we give them],” says Kutlay Keço, chairman of the North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT). “It’s the best project in the whole of the Mediterranean, if not the whole world.” Keço, who fought in the civil war that resulted in the partition of the island in 1974 and the creation of what is now the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, helped to found SPOT in 1983. He and other founders monitored beaches for nesting females but they knew they needed professional conservation expertise if they were to protect their turtles properly. Nests are excavated in front of tourists to raise awareness about turtle conservation on North Cyprus. Credit: James Fair. Then, as now, North Cyprus was only officially…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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