A loggerhead turtle crawls from the sea to the edge of a beach in Side on the Turkish South Coast. She pauses. What does she see? Apartment houses and hotels take up much of the beach. Only a narrow strip of sand remains, and it is crowded with people. In some places cement has been poured across the sand clear to the edge of the water. There is no place for the turtle to nest. The turtle goes back to the sea and returns at night. Hundreds of lights shine out from windows. The beach is bright. Elsewhere, along the coast, another turtle finds a small, undeveloped piece of beach and lays her eggs.
When they hatch, the young turtles crawl toward the brightness, but it is not the sea. It is the light of street lamps along a road that passes nearby. The hatchlings will die in the burning sun later that day. Once there were hundreds of miles of open shore for loggerhead sea turtles to nest on safely. It is different now.
From "Sea Turtles in every Aspect",
a publication of The Society for The Protection of Nature