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WHAT TO DO IF…

Nesting season in Egypt goes from late April to the end of October. While most nesting sites are located in islands where access is forbidden, some sporadic nesting events occur along the coastline, so you might be really lucky and witness this too!

In case you are witnessing a nesting event, this is what you should do:

  • Keep all noises to a minimum, turtles are easily scared when on land.
  • Switch off all lights, turtles feel safer in the darkness.
  • Keep a distance of approx. 10-15m, give the turtle some space. Make sure that you are always behind the turtle in a semicircle.
  • Do not touch, move or try to “help” the turtle. If you think the turtle is in distress contact Turtle Watch Egypt 2.0 or the local authorities. 
  • If you want to take a picture, do not use the flash, only infrared lights and always from  behind.

If you go for an early morning walk on the beach, please look out for turtle tracks.

  • A turtle track looks almost like a car or quad track, but only one wheel is visible.
  • All turtle tracks start from the water and are slowly deleted by the high tides.
  • Tracks can go on for a while and they usually go towards the beach.
  • For every track coming out of the water, there is one going back in. If not, the turtle may still be nesting.

 

If you see any track, please:

  • Take a picture
  • Contact the beach manager
  • Share your report with us

During your diving or snorkeling trips you may spot marine turtles displaying unusual behaviours or visible wounds. What should you look at and what should you do if that happens?

 

How to tell?

Observe the turtle: do you see evident wounds or tumors? Is the carapace clean?

How is the shape of the plastron? Concave: poor body condition. Flat: fair body condition. Convex: good body condition.

Look at the neck and eye area.

What to do?

Do not touch, observe the turtle for 10-15 minutes (to make sure the animal is actually in distress), try to record its behaviour/photograph any injury and report it to us! IMPORTANT: do not attempt to take the turtle out of the water. If the turtle was taken out of the water for any reason, make sure it was placed in a right side up position. It should be out of the sun and kept moist.

 

What to know?

Due to the absence of a rehabilitation centre, moving an injured turtle out of the sea is useless and it could harm the animal further. We will be monitoring the animal with your help and the support of specialised veterinarians we are in touch with. 

REMEMBER: Marine turtles are able to recover from injuries extraordinarily well in their natural environment.

Photograph injury: ©Micol Montagna
Photograph heads: ©Sabina M. Horn (left), ©Micol Montagna (right)
Illustrations: “Thomson, Jordan & Burkholder, Derek & Heithaus, Michael & Dill, Larry. (2009). Validation of a Rapid Visual-Assessment Technique for Categorizing the Body Condition of Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Field. Copeia. 2009. 251-255. 10.1643/CE-07-227.”

If you meet a marine turtle during your diving/snorkeling trip, remember: 

  • Never touch a turtle
  • Never feed a turtle
  • Keep a slow pace and keep at least 2-3m distance
  • Only approach them slowly from behind or from one side if you have to, swimming parallel to the animal
  • Do not swim directly above a turtle as this could inhibit the turtle’s ability to surface and breath
  • If the turtle is moving away, let it go!

Marine turtles can often be found in shallow coastal bays and lagoons feeding, resting, cleaning or swimming. These areas are usually frequented by high numbers of divers and snorkelers. Therefore, when using a speedboat, it is essential to understand how to best drive it without injuring or affecting turtles and people!

  • Go slow! In areas where you know turtles might be feeding, reducing speed is the most effective way to reduce the risk of collision.
  • Make sure that there is a person on the lookout at the front sides of your boat. Ask your guests to help you avoid turtles.
  • Do not anchor in seagrass areas or in proximity of coral reefs as turtles may be resting or feeding at the bottom and could be hit by the anchor.
  • Avoid going in very shallow areas (i.e. less than 3m) to drop your guests. Instead, ask your guests to put their snorkeling and diving gears on and point them in the direction of the turtles from a distance. 
  • If you see an injured turtle, please report your sighting to us, We are in constant communication with specialised veterinarians that provide guidance on what to do in case of injuries.

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