sea turtles in Kefalonia
Gain hands on experience as you contribute to important research
- Start dates every Tues & Sun between May & Sept
- Start dates every Tues & Sun between May & Sept
Greece sea turtle conservation
Become a part of an international team and help with our efforts of conserving critically endangered sea turtles on the Greek island of Kefalonia. Every year, many Loggerhead sea turtles migrate here to forage and reproduce, with female turtles laying their eggs on the sandy beaches.
However, with the ever-increasing tourism industry and many other natural threats, the eggs are at risk of being damaged or destroyed – this is where your help is urgently needed! You will gain hands on experience and increase your knowledge in the field of conservation as you help with our efforts to study and protect these endangered sea turtles.
You will be based at one of our two research stations, living and volunteering close to the beautiful beaches – the most picture-perfect backdrop! The island still has many untouched natural attractions and plenty of activities for everyone. Snorkel in the glittering azure seas, trek up the breath-taking mountainous landscapes, wander through the lush forests or explore the secrets coves – there really is so much to see and do!
Kefalonia is one of the most important locations for loggerhead sea turtles to breed. Unfortunately, they are now facing many threats that are pushing them closer to the brink of extinction.
Sea turtles are regularly injured or killed by accidental boat strikes, get trapped in fishing equipment, inundated by the rising tide, flooded by tropical storms or by swallowing the abundance of plastics found in the sea.
With more and more holidaymakers heading to the island, sea turtles are now also facing a new problem. With hotels, apartments, restaurants and other venues being built to cater for the new tourists, light pollution is dramatically increasing and disrupting their normal behaviour and navigational capabilities.
Our goal is to study and protect the endangered sea turtles of Kefalonia and their ecosystems. To achieve this goal, we need the help from you and other volunteers to survey all nesting beaches to identify, study, and protect the turtles’ nests, to monitor the population's health and behaviour and to identify threats.
With all of the information and data collected, we hope to develop and implement plans working alongside the local authorities and fishermen. We hope that in the not too distant future, we can help mitigate and reverse population declines in the area.
You will play an integral role within the small team (generally around 20 other volunteers) where you will be involved in many varied activities.
Your tasks will range from daily morning patrols to locate and protect new nests, turtle identification, monitoring and relocating vulnerable nests, behavioural research surveys, raising public awareness with locals and visitors about the island’s biodiversity, night beach patrols, gathering valuable population data, tagging turtles so we can monitor and carry out health checks and so much more!
In order to monitor an extensive part of the island, we operate two field stations at separate locations along the coast. Both stations are just a short (20 minute) ferry ride away from each other. Both stations conduct beach surveys following our scientific methodology, but minor differences exist between each.
The main difference is that at field station one, there are no night beach surveys to observe and tag nesting turtles (due to the fact this occurs over many small beaches). Instead, you will observe and monitor sea turtles who congregate in the harbour, which does not happen at field station two. To view more in-depth information about what you will be doing at each field station, click frequently asked questions on this page.
When you first arrive in Kefalonia, you will receive extensive training to ensure you are competent and happy to carry out all tasks involved. You will receive practical on the job training from local staff and have the opportunity to help safeguard Greece’s vulnerable sea turtles and exceptional habitats for future generations.
Hands-on learning is emphasised throughout the project, so that you can acquire practical experience on a wide range of wildlife research and conservation practices, including their legal and social aspects, which are often the most controversial aspects of conservation.
If you are looking to conduct your own independent research or are looking to carry out an internship then our local team are more than happy to assist.
You will gain valuable research experience, increase your knowledge in wildlife conservation and develop your interpersonal skills while exploring new places, experiencing a new culture and making lifetime friends. Most importantly you’ll be helping save the sea turtles of Kefalonia from extinction.