Sea turtles in safe hands after adoption campaign .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ADANA - Thousands of sea turtles will feel the help of their 'families,' who they will never meet, through the efforts of the World Wildlife Fund and the Ministry of Forestry. Volunteers can participate to the project and adopt an endangered sea turtle by donating just YTL 10.

Thousands of sea turtles have been adopted, but they will never get to see their adoptive families.

In a campaign "Adopt a sea turtle," which started two years ago by the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, and the Adana Directorate of Forestry District, 3,000 of 24,000 sea turtles hatched this year were adopted.

Adopters, who will never et to see the turtles, have paid YTL 10 to help the WWF protect the turtles. The campaign is aiming for 2,000 more adopters this year, to reach a total number of 5,000.

The sea turtles, or green turtles, which rarely go ashore, are vital for balance in marine life.

Nests in 556 spots
The green turtles (chelonia mydas), nest in sand dunes on the shore of the Akyatan Lagoon in the Karataş district of Adana and have nested in 556 locations on the 22-kilometer beach this year.

Ayşe Oruç, project manager for the Turkey branch of the World Wildlife Fund, said they started this campaign in 2006 to support work to protect the endangered species of green turtles and to raise attention to the issue.

Oruç said it was very important to improve the species’ natural habitat by contributing YTL 10 for each turtle. The campaign aims to have 5,000 turtles adopted by the end of the year, Oruç said, and invited nature lovers to adopt a sea turtle for themselves or for loved ones.

40 scientists involved
"Everyone who is willing to can apply on our Web site, WWF Türkiye: Ana Sayfa, to adopt as many green turtles as they want," the project manager added.

To protect nests and conduct scientific research, 40 people from the universities of Çukurova in Adana, Adnan Menderes inAydın, Ege in İzmir, İstanbul, Ankara and Hacettepe in Ankara have worked this year, 31 were volunteers.

Teams from the Ministry of Forestry lso supported work in the area. The United Nations Development Program, or UNDP, the Global Environment Facility, or GEF, and Garanti Bank are among other supporters of the work that has included the marking of 25 adult, female, green turtles at Akyatan by project teams.

"Field teams are transferring data received by the project and about protection generally to target audiences. Fieldwork starts every year July 1 and continues until Sept. 15. Within the scope of the project, data on the nests, hatches without nests and each nest’s distance to the sea are being recorded," said Oruç.

Oruç said female sea turtles were being marked and transmitters were being planted on some of them. With the transmitters, the green turtles were being followed throughout the year to discover what they did and where they were spent the winter.

Endangered species
Green turtles are the only herbivore sea turtles of their kind listed as an endangered species in Turkey and in the world. The green turtle is on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, which lists species under threat.