How was the project established?

SPOT was founded in the late 1980s by British expatriates Ian and Celia Bell and local philanthropist Kutlay Keço. In 1988 a preliminary field study found nesting of green and loggerhead turtles to be significant. SPOT contacted Glasgow University and in 1992 a volunteer expedition team made a thorough survey. On the basis of this expedition, Kutlay committed to provide volunteer accommodation in Alagadi which is still used 25 years on by the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP). MTCP continues as a collaboration between SPOT, University of Exeter’s Marine Turtle Research Group and the North Cyprus Department for Environmental Protection.

Where to Watch TurtlesWhere to Watch Turtles

 

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How is the project financed?

Our activities are largely reliant on donations and sponsorship. We gratefully receive sponsorship from local companies in North Cyprus such as Kuzey Kıbrıs Turkcell and Pacific Rentals. Karşıyaka Turtle Watch also generate significant annual income through their fund raising activities on behalf of SPOT. All of our international volunteers cover their own expenses and the tourists who visit leave donations. This income covers expenses such as equipment, facilities, vehicle maintenance, the fuel required to patrol nesting beaches daily between Güzelyürt on the west coast and Kaleburnu on the East coast. These funds also allow us to provide accommodation and food for local volunteers at no cost.

Sponsorship DonationSponsorship Donation

 

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What is the role of the organisation?

MTCP aims to minimise the threat of introduced canine (stray dog and fox) predators by screening all nests with protective cages. SPOT works to protect the nesting beaches themselves from human threats, by delivering information to and working with authorities to protect key sites. We encourage local artisanal fishers to minimise the mortality rate of sea turtles that get caught in their fishing gear, by distributing materials to them on appropriate sea turtle handling and by developing and encouraging alternative methods. MTCP provide annual data on the status of sea turtles and their habitats in North Cyprus and University of Exeter produce a comprehensive range of research outputs on Mediterranean sea turtles. SPOT promotes education in schools and delivers classes each year on sea turtle conservation. We also organise field trips for school groups.

Research and ConservationResearch and Conservation

 

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Successes

During the last decade, the numbers of green and loggerhead turtles nesting on the beaches monitored by MTCP has been consistently increasing, which is an indication that our conservation efforts are paying off. As a result of our efforts, five Natura 2000 Specially Protected Areas have been designated and everyone on the island knows that sea turtles are under protection.

VolunteeringVolunteering

 

That’s all

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