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    Turtle invasion of Mallorca

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    Off to Mallorca: a loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean Off to Mallorca: a loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean

    Off to Mallorca: a loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean

    Source: Getty Images

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    Dhat is a successful surprise coup. While the island’s parliament in the old town of Palma de Mallorca is having a heated debate about Ballermann tussles, quiet zones and beach bans, a daring sea turtle swims ashore, only about a kilometer away as the crow flies. She digs a nest in the sand, lays more than 100 eggs in it before she dives back into the Mediterranean Sea. Some talk, others create facts. One can only congratulate this turtle.

    Of all the many possible beaches on the island, the animal has chosen the popular city beach of Palma to lay its eggs. Can Pere Toni is, so to speak, the extension of Playa de Palma. A strategically clever placement, that has to be said. Located between the Portixol marina to the east and the Parc de la Mer, below the La Seu Cathedral and within sight of the Gesa skyscraper by the sea, the listed block from the 70s that every Mallorca holidaymaker knows.

    A pioneering achievement. Because sea turtles have never nested in Mallorca. According to the Balearic Environment Minister, Miquel Mir, who is still in office, this is the first known laying of eggs by a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) on the island.

    The clutch on the beach in Mallorca is strictly guarded

    No sooner had a beach visitor reported their fin tracks and sand hills around midnight than the task force of the Balearic species protection authority Cofib, the consortium for the rescue of the fauna of the Balearic Islands, so to speak the turtle SEK, came with a siren wail. The area was cordoned off, the eggs dug up and counted (106 eggs). 26 of them were carefully taken to incubate them artificially. According to the “Mallorca Zeitung”, the nest on the beach is guarded around the clock until the baby turtles are expected to hatch at the end of July or beginning of August.

    Turtle scouts also patrol at night. After the first nest, the mother animals generally return two to three times to bury more clutches. The Balearic government is therefore asking all holidaymakers to call the number 112 to inform species protection if they discover turtle tracks on the beach. Sea turtles lay their eggs between May and August.

    Actually, these animals only nest in the eastern Mediterranean, for example on the Greek islands of Crete, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, on Cyprus and on the southern Turkish coast. But in recent years they have also been swimming west to lay their eggs. Clutches have just been discovered on the Spanish mainland coast near Barcelona, ​​near Dénia near Benidorm and near Tarragona, and nesting attempts have also been made on Ibiza and Formentera. And now: Mallorca.

    This has long-term consequences for summer tourism on the island. Because once a loggerhead turtle has found a promising nesting site, it is also a generational decision. All of their female offspring will return there in the future once they are fully grown. They only nest where they were born. Normally, such beach sections worthy of protection are then closed down. Mission accomplished.

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