This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley
During the last three Clothes Exchange events, the Sustainable Living in Fethiye team raffled off some wonderful prizes which were donated by those interested in encouraging everyone to do their bit for the environment. These raffles raised a fantastic 1,010 TL to go towards local turtle conservation.
Last weekend, myself and some friends had the opportunity to meet the legendary Kaptan June in order to give her half of this donation for her Foundation. We met at her home in Dalyan for the last 37 years, the Peaceable Kingdom.
Still a force to be reckoned with, Kaptan June, now 96, retains the title of President. She is supported by generous friends and volunteers who assist with the day to day running of the Foundation, she gets to the Foundation’s Beach Hut Visitor Centre as often as possible and is still very much the heart of the Foundation.
Kaptan June talked about the recent issues with the Beach Hut, expressing her happiness that it is now back up and running and can continue to educate people about the plight of the turtles. The ultimate aim is to open the Beach Hut every day, but at the moment it is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, for six months of the year.
It is open on additional days of the week if availability of volunteers allows. The Foundation is struggling to find volunteers to cover the shifts having currently only ten regular helpers. If you live in, or near, Dalyan full time, or for most of the summer, and are interested in getting involved please email them at email@example.com.
The Foundation’s main concern at the moment is the amount of injuries caused by boat propellers, especially with the number of boats operating from Dalyan increasing yearly. They are currently looking at how they can educate owners on the dangers to turtles and encourage them to fix propeller guards to their boats. Although the guards themselves are not too expensive, the fitting of them can only be done during the winter when the boats are out of the water, or during summer by an expert diver so the idea is not as straightforward as it seems.
To find out more about the Foundation’s work please check out their website: https://dalyanturtles.com/ or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaptanJuneSeaTurtleConservationFoundation/
There was still the other half of the donation to pass on, so after saying farewell to Kaptan June we headed over to the DEKAMER Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
We were greeted very enthusiastically by the volunteers who were more than happy to tell us about their work. DEKAMER have been operating since 2009 and currently has 10 turtles in their care; 3 with fishing line injuries, 3 with boat propeller injuries, 2 with unidentified head injuries and 2 with eye infections. The DEKAMER staff and volunteers are the only people who can visit Iztuzu beach at night, making sure that the turtles stay out of harms way and redirecting baby turtles should they be heading away from the water. The hospital and small museum are open every day from 10am until 6pm and are free to enter.
To find out more about DEKAMER please visit: www.dekamer.org
You can also visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/dekamerturkey/
I’d just like to finish off by saying thank you to Tracey, Rob & Steve for coming along for the day, Kaptan June and Foundation volunteer, Dorri, who helped arrange our get together, the staff at DEKAMER for their warm welcome and, of course, everyone who donated to the raffles and bought tickets.
Thank you to Sue Fockner-Aşık, owner of Arkadaslik Yachting for giving us kind permission to use her turtle photograph as our featured image today.
Sian Midgley moved to Fethiye from the UK in 2013. She’s previously been involved with 3Cs, Animal Aid (now Hayed) and the Çatalarık Kedi Evi. Now she jointly runs the Sustainable Living in Fethiye Facebook page where people ask questions and give advice on how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.Having discovered a love of the outdoors in recent years, more often than not, you’ll find her cycling or walking around the local villages or participating in various fitness classes. In her downtime, she likes nothing more than to be at home with her three pets, including her 4 year-old rescue dog who she openly admits is the love of her life.