British tourists to blame for damage to turtles haven

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Category: News

Posted by on 07 Feb 2005

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The Ionian island of Zakynthos, fast becoming one of the most popular adult playing grounds for young British tourists, is also seriously endangering the traditional breeding grounds of loggerhead turtles.

An estimated 200,000 British holiday-makers descend every year upon Zakynthos, attracted by its white sandy beaches with their limpid blue waters and the exciting nightlife the island has to offer.

The deafening sound of music blaring out of loudspeakers from bars, nightclubs and the all night beach parties is held responsible for preventing the loggerhead turtles from completing their sober breeding practices at what used to be their tranquil safe haven. Instead of their usual practice of burying their eggs sedately in the sand, the loud racket created by the partying tourists is driving the loggerhead turtles away from the sand and in to the sea where they are now laying their eggs. If they are not born in the sand, the turtle babies do not survive.

The ecological situation of the loggerhead turtles has deteriorated to such an extent that, in 2005, an outraged European Union took the Greek government again to court, accusing it of failing to protect the endangered habitat of the turtles, known as "Caretta Caretta." An earlier judgment of the European court had condemned the Greek government for doing little to safeguard the fragile environment of the turtles, especially at the Laganas Bay on Zakynthos. The EU Environment Commissioner, Mr. Stavros Dimas, had even threatened the Greek government with a heavy daily fine. Meanwhile, there seems to be no moderation on the horizon for all the partying and revelry on the island.

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