Turtles in Greece

Katelios Group – Volunteer for conservation of loggerhead sea turtle

The Katelios Group is a small organisation working to protect the natural environment of Kefalonia. We focus on the conservation of the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta.

We hope to stop the decline of the population and help the conservation of the Loggerhead sea turtle in Kefalonia with our Turtle project. We also have an education programme to inform the maximum number of people about turtles and our work.

To assist in all the aspects of our work, at the Katelios Group we take a great number of volunteers every summer. Volunteers take part in all the activities and have an unforgettable experience.

Turtles in Kefalonia

The Loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta nests on most of the southern sandy beaches of Kefalonia. Many of these beaches have been untouched by human development until recently, and therefore offered turtles a safe place to nest, secluded from the outside world. However, in the past 20 years tourist development has been encroaching into these untouched nesting habitats.

Archelon, the sea turtle protection society of Greece

Since 1983, the primary objective of ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece has been to protect the sea turtles and their habitats in Greece through monitoring and research, developing and implementing management plans, habitat restoration, raising public awareness and rehabilitating sick and injured turtles.

The Greek dilemma: Turtles or Turists

The magical Greek islands have been attracting tourist for centuries. Tourists in the past like Lord Byron and D.H. Lawrence were drawn and inspired by the white washed villages and clear blue waters. Today, those idyllic attractions may still to some extent remain, yet the actual numbers of tourists has become overwhelming for the fragile Greek coastal environment. Millions of tourists, mostly from Western Europe, descend upon Greece each year and head for the islands. In season, package tours with thousands of visitors arrive daily by the plane, bus and boat load. On almost every Greek island tourism is the largest industry; in season tourists far outnumber the local inhabitants. For the many Greeks, tourism is a primary source of income and to limit tourist development for environmental reasons seems absurd. With economic development, however, there is always sacrifice, be it ecological, cultural, or political. In Greece, on the island of Zakynthos, this issue is dramaticized by the plight of the caretta-caretta, or loggerhead turtle. It is here that the turtles and environmental groups fighting for their survival, and local landowners, developers, and tourists are locked in head to head confrontations.

See also Turtles in Turkey