Updated on August 6, 2021
“LOOKING FOR A CARETTA I REMOVE MY ‘CARETA’ ” -Ignacio
Fortunately, this beautiful coastline is increasingly frequented by the Caretta, a species in danger of extinction. The sad side of the story is that the turtle on many occasions needs human help so that the nest can move forward because sometimes the eggs are deposited too close to the sea or, on the contrary, it is threatened by human activities on the beach that prevent a continuity of Caretta’s offspring.
This experience for me has been a great learning experience that I must thank Lido Azzurro (Baia Felice), the great Erica Moura (AMP Punta Campanella), the Anton Dorhn Zoological Station, the Domizia Group and Marcello Giannotti (ARDEA). These entities are putting effort and commitment to preserve the biodiversity of the area and specifically to save the Caretta Caretta.
Our work in Baia Domizia consists of searching for signs of Caretta nests whose tracks in the sand are similar to tracks of tractor. This is ironic because in our search the tractors are an element of confusion or even cancellation of the track and the nest, and unevenness in the sand in the shape of a crater: the possible nest. In case of being lucky and finding a real nest, the possibility of changing its situation should be evaluated, generally moving it away from the tidal line and placing it above the storm line, an environment identical to the nest produced by the mother should be generated in terms of to characteristics of the sand and also once the new nest is buried, a net of about 1×1 m must be inserted to prevent other excavating species from finding the nest, endangering the eggs.
This is undoubtedly the most exciting and rewarding part of a very tiring job such as traveling miles and miles of beach under the sun. But it doesn’t end here. Our work in addition to patrolling is communication and awareness with the managers of the Lidos that are so present on this coast; This dialogue is developing and the objective is to find a balance between our moral responsibility with the protected species and the unconditional search to obtain a monetary benefit from the beach. During the afternoons, meetings have been held with said beach owners and workers to share identification knowledge and modes of action in case of finding a footprint or a possible nest. We have also had the opportunity to get closer to the little ones in a meeting to raise awareness and knowledge about protected species that nest on the beach such as the Caretta, the Frattino and the Corriere Piccolo, the last two taught by great professionals and people Marcello Giannotti and Giovanni from the ARDEA association.
As an isolated event, one of the saddest moments that touched my heart happened on my first morning on patrol on the beach when Ali (Project M.A.R.E) and I found a dead turtle on Il Lido Beach. The turtle had a large cut in the shell probably caused by the propeller of a boat. Without knowing the intention or the degree of guilt of this boat we can affirm that they did not bother to notify the Coast Guard and that unfortunately almost every day turtles are found in a state of difficulty, all due to direct or indirect actions of the “human” being.
Trying to see the glass half full and at the level of tangible objectives, I can proudly say that I have participated in the work carried out in 4 Caretta Caretta nests found in the Castel Volturno area, contributing to the continuity of an amazing and terribly threatened species, having spreading a message of hope with people of all ages is something that could never have imagined 3 months ago in Madrid.