From ANSA news agency in Italy:
Around 60 babies scrambled for the waves after hatching from the sand on Galati beach, near Reggio Calabria, on Sunday night, while a second nest on Sant’Andrea Apostolo dello Jonio near Cosenza hatched on Monday in front of a crowd of curious sunbathers.
According to WWF Italy’s turtle chief Paolo Casale, Calabria hosts the largest number of Loggerhead nests in the country: over the last five years, 60 out of 86 nests (or 70%) have been dug on the shores of the southern region.
Nests are also found in the neighbouring regions of Puglia and Sicily – especially the islands of Linosa and Lampedusa – and Sardinia.
But while full statistics will not be released until the end of the nesting season, Casale warned that the number of nests on Italian shores this year has dropped compared to last year.
”Among the most important causes of the drop is the increased mortality of sea turtles caught up in fishing gear: every year in Italy more than 10,000 are captured accidentally, and a considerable number of these do not survive,” he said.
Loggerheads rarely lay eggs on Italian shores, their most important nesting grounds in the Mediterranean being along the coasts of Turkey, Libya and Cyprus.
The turtle’s survival is increasingly under threat from aggressive fishing practices, pollution, shipping traffic and habitat degradation, particularly due to rising tourism.
Loggerheads, also known as Caretta Caretta, are among the biggest marine turtles, sometimes measuring more than four feet in shell length and weighing up to 400 pounds.
They have large heads, hence their name, and strong jaws.
Their mating occurs in open water and, unlike with other turtle species, it often takes place some distance from the shore.
Females lay between 40 and 190 eggs per clutch.
Their major nesting grounds apart from the Mediterranean are in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, particularly off the coast of Florida and South Carolina.