With a new study suggesting endangered loggerhead turtles reclaimed empty shores to breed during Covid, conservationists fear the return of mass tourism
Nikoletta Sidiropoulou and her colleagues in the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece (Archelon) are huddled together on Marathonisi beach, carefully digging in the sand. Eventually they find what they’re looking for: a turtle nest, containing upwards of 100 eggs. “It’s really exciting,” says Sidiropoulou.
Endangered loggerhead sea turtles, or Caretta Caretta, make their main nesting spot on the Mediterranean island of Zakynthos – one of the most visited islands in Greece, with roughly 1 million yearly visitors, including many British tourists. Mass tourism has long threatened the loggerheads: tourists frequently break rules designed to keep them away from nests. But new research suggests the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed these turtles to come up for air.