photos by solvinzanki of a nascent loggerhead sea turtle on turkey’s iztuzu beach taking its first steps en route to its new home in the sea. most eggs hatch in late september after five months of incubation, a period when this nesting site cum tourist beach is subject to restrictions.
sea turtles are one of the planet’s oldest species, roaming the oceans for around one hundred million years. but the twenty first century has seen their numbers decline by up to seven percent a year, largely as a result of commercial fishing nets which ensnare the turtles as bycatch.
but loggerheads, already an endangered species, face an ongoing threat to their coveted nesting sites to beach developers looking to draw in tourists. conservations have fought for decades to keep iztuzu beach free from development, though the licence to run it has recently been sold to property developers who threaten to change that.
The oldest fossils of turtles were found in Germany and date back 215 million years, during the Triassic period. They are among the oldest fossils of four-legged animals and one of the Earth’s most ancient creatures. These ancestral turtles had completely formed shells and lived on land, in marshes. Turtles appeared before dinosaurs and were present for the evolution of birds from feathered dinosaurs.