Wildlife Sense is a research & conservation organization based on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, Greece. Our mission is to protect sea turtles and their natural habitats, offer a unique learning experience to the volunteers who join our efforts, and promote public awareness. To achieve our goals, we operate a science-based research and conservation project on the island, in collaboration with local and national authorities.

Sea turtles nest on the sandy beaches of Kefalonia and forage along the island’s coast and in the Bay of Argostoli. All nesting turtles and most foraging ones are loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) but a small number of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) also forage in Kefalonia. These turtles are threatened by intense fishing, coastal development, beach use for tourism, and light pollution. All these threats can cause increased levels of mortality, interfere with their ecology, and threaten the turtles of Kefalonia with extinction.

From the autumn of 2012 we began monitoring the bay of Argostoli and opened the Argostoli Field Station in the summer of 2013. Soon after, the Lixouri, Lourdas, and Skala Field Stations began operating. Our survey teams walk and cycle to over 30 different beaches in those areas, covering over 20 km of nesting beaches daily.

Our teams survey the harbour of Argostoli and the Koutavos lagoon daily from spring to Autumn and continue with frequent surveys during the winter. We also monitor the harbour of Lixouri and organize survey expeditions to other sections of the bay. Over the last ten years, our tagging and photo identification programmes have identified more than 600 individual turtles in the bay.

Over the years, we have witnessed human impacts and the effects of climate change directly on the coastal ecosystems of Kefalonia. Beach erosion and the deterioration of sea grass meadows are evident. It is important to record and study these changes, and to implement actions aimed to stop or even reverse them. We started two field stations, one in Argostoli and one in Skala, dedicated to studying the sea grass meadows and the sand dunes of these important coastal ecosystems.

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