Tourism threatens rare turtles

The loggerhead turtle is being pushed to extinction due to the overdevelopment of a protected national marine park used by its nesting population on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, the conservationists WWF said yesterday. WWF accused the government of having done little to protect the Caretta caretta despite a European court ruling saying that Greece was violating EU law because it failed to protect the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. Illegal bars, tavernas and parking areas were still operating in the area, while boats regularly crossed or anchored in prohibited zones, according to WWF. Every year between May and July, Zakynthos is home to 1,100 turtle nests. The peak of the island’s tourist season coincides with the start of hatching. The European Commission is soon expected to announce that it will refer the case to the court for a second time, according to WWF, which called on the government to demolish the illegal buildings and help restore the coastal area.