Kiawah Island and Costa Navarino set the benchmark
“We can turn the situation around in the oceans, and we know that it makes economic sense, both for people and for the environment.” Prof. Callum Roberts from the University of York is one of those scientists who, with the publication of a study in the magazine Nature have caused quite a stir. Under the leadership of Prof. Carlos Duarte from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia in fact, concluded that there is a possibility that animal life in the oceans will recover completely by 2050, given positive circumstances such as food, coastal condition, and climate stability.
A statement that also applies to the sea turtles, which some golf resorts around the world are committed to protecting. Kiawah Island in the state of South Carolina is playing a pioneering role, where 1,973 Kiawah’s Turtle Patrols have already been installed to look after the Loggerhead Turtles. The so-called loggerhead turtle is one of only seven sea turtle species still in existence. Its population has been classified as endangered since 1978.
Curbing the lightning in the golf resorts
From May to October, the turtles nest on the beaches in front of the island’s golf courses, with a nest containing between 100 and 150 eggs. After about two months, the fry hatch and make their way to the sea. Hundreds of nests are found on Kiawah Island every year. The peak was reached in 2013 with 402 pieces, in 2018 it was 222.
In order not to disturb the turtles nesting, the lights on the beaches and golf courses are switched off completely at night. You can get an impression of the breeding conditions of the animals during a nightly walk on the beach with the biologists of the golf resort from the Heron Park Nature Center.
Costa Navarino with its own monitoring program
The program of the Destination Costa Navarino, which stretches over a total of 2.7 kilometres of coast, is not quite as old and big – compared to Kiawah Island, it is over 16 kilometres. Together with the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece , the golf resort runs a monitoring and protection program for the loggerhead turtles. The beach in front of the Navarino Dunes golf course is constantly cleaned of plastic before and during the nesting phase. Here, too, all lights towards the coast are switched off so as not to disturb the brooding doors. Golfers and guests are constantly made aware of the protection of animals with information material and boards on the beach.
The success is impressive: The population on the coast off Navarino Dunes has increased significantly and reached its previous record in 2019 with 56 nests and 3259 turtles hatched. In 2010 they started with 13 nests and 738 turtles.
A message that Prof. Roberts also has ready: “If you stop killing marine life and protect it, it will come back.”
Hole 2 of the Navarino Dunes course, which leads down to the stretch of beach.