2008: Loggerhead Turtle Conservation

Archelon; Sea Turtle Conservation Society of Greece, Crete.


Project Overview

Archelon was set up in 1983 and works throughout Greece on many of the Islands and on the mainland to protect all sea turtles using Greek waters and beaches. Focussing mainly on Caretta caretta, the Loggerhead Turtle, but Greece also has a small Green turtle population.

Over the last 28 years Archelon has grown and now has an impressive number of projects helping turtles all over Greece with active projects  in Crete at Rethymno, Chania and Messara. Also on the mainland in the Peloponnese in Kyparissia, Lakonikos and Koroni. Zakynthos now has a Marine Nature Reserve thanks to the research carried out by Archelon proving the Bay of Laganas is one of the most important for Loggerhead nesting. They also have a government supported education programmes in schools throughout Greece and a Rescue Centre in Athens.

The main problems encountered in Greece are that vitally important nesting beaches are filled with sun loungers, which leaves no room for the females to nest. Over time and as more hotels are built on the beach front this changes the substrate of the beaches, changing soft sand to rougher harder rocks and pebbles, which is unsuitable for nesting.


  • To monitor and record Turtle nesting activity on nesting beaches in Chania.

  • To protect nest sites and raise awareness.

  • To protect hatchlings and guide them to the sea.

  • To educate locals and school children as well as holiday makers.

  • To work with beach front hotels to bring sun loungers off beaches at night.

  • To respond to the stranding network rescue hotline for injured or dead turtles.

  • To excavate old nests for scientific research into unhatched eggs


During the 2008 Season we:

  • Released 1 female turtle after a long rehabilitation

  • Rescued 2 female adult turtles; one from a fishing net at sea, one from dehydration after falling onto her back!

  • 23 nests located and protected

  • Over 600 hatchlings guided safely to the sea after hatching.

  • 5 hatchlings rescued and released.

  • We also managed to sign up hundreds of new members and adopters over the summer, gaining publicity and financial support to help rescue more turtles in future!