The sea turtles of Çıralı
For millions of years, the sea turtles have returned to the beach of Çıralı to lay their eggs at night. The beach, located in the Olympos National Park, is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Turkey.
Çıralı is situated about 80 kilometres south-west of Antalya. The national park is named after the 2366 metre high Tahtali Dagi, which was known as “Olympos” in ancient times. The beach of
Çıralı in the Olympos National Park, is one of the most important nature reserves for the Caretta Caretta sea turtle. As the sea turtle population has declined dramatically in the past, it was placed under protection as an endangered species. Nature reserves such as Çirali are therefore vital to their conservation.
The sea turtles spend most of their lives in water and only come ashore to lay their eggs. An adult turtle can weigh to two hundred pounds, and their heavy shells can reach a diameter of over one metre. They live for between 30 and 40 years. In the months of May through August, the mother turtles come ashore at night and lay up to 120 eggs in half a metre deep holes, which they dig in the sand. The eggs remain in the holes for approximately 50 days and are warmed by the sun. Then the young turtles hatch and retreat back to the sea. Many of the young animals fall victim to birds or fish. However, the greatest enemy is the impact of humans on the environment of Caretta Caretta. Only about one hundred hatched turtles reach adulthood.
The conservationists of Çıralı have significantly contributed to ensuring that the beach is not overrun by mass tourism. Therefore, there are only small hotels, holiday houses and guest houses close to the beach. If you love eco-tourism, you will have a wonderful time in the bay of Çıralı. For parents who want to teach their children a responsible approach to nature, a stay in the Olympos National Park is ideal. Family rates are offered by many places of accommodation.